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Merrimack River search called off in Hudson

By April Guilmet
Union Leader Correspondent

November 30. 2012 11:44AM

HUDSON - A search for a man believed to have jumped into the Merrimack River Wednesday evening was called off Friday after extensive efforts by emergency workers and state Fish and Game divers turned up nothing.

Shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, Hudson Police Capt. William Avery said the decision was made to end the search. Since Wednesday night, local police had been reaching out to surrounding communities in hopes they'd hear from citizens with missing loved ones. But as it stands now, that hasn't happened.

'We haven't received any reports of missing people,' Avery said. 'However, if that changes, we can resume searching.'

The unidentified man, who was pursued by police after reported attempts to break into vehicles along Maple Avenue, Fulton and Reid streets Wednesday night, is said to have entered the river at Veteran's Bridge, near the Nashua town line, around 8 p.m.

A Hudson police officer reportedly saw a man standing at the water's edge under the bridge. When the officer started to approach him, the man went into the river, started swimming upstream and disappeared from sight.

A widespread search began that evening and continued for several hours until dropping temperatures forced crews to retire for the night.

The search resumed Thursday with Fish and Game officials then treating the search as a 'body recovery mission,' noting the river's frigid waters. Six divers worked in pairs over the course of 12 hours, going into the 40-degree water in 40-minute sessions throughout the day.

Hudson and Nashua firefighters, along with a state police K-9 team, traveled by boat and by foot to investigate the surrounding areas.

'They searched all day and all night, but came up with nothing,' Avery noted.

Police said it is quite possible the man crawled out of the river undetected.

Anyone with information related to the incident is asked to contact Hudson police at 886-6011.

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