Man missing after being swept away by Highwood River

CALGARY – A 19-year-old man is still missing after being swept away by the swollen Highwood River over the weekend.

Justin McNeil’s family says he fell into the water near the Nature’s Hideaway campground on Sunday evening, in an area where the Highwood River flows into the Bow River.

He was caught in the current and swept downstream.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene, along with Calgary police who flew HAWCS helicopter to the site.

Although an extensive search was completed, officials weren’t able to find McNeil.

Police say the river is high and moving fast due to recent rain.

“Because of the debris and streamflow advisories it’s not safe for dive teams,” explained RCMP Cpl. Sharon Franks.

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Despite this, his family says they aren’t giving up hope.

“I just want him to be found safe,” says his cousin Melanie Murrin.

“Justin, we’re coming out to look for you, and hopefully we find you safe and sound – and we can bring you home.”

Murrin says she hasn’t been impressed with search and rescue operation.

“I understand that the rivers are rough,” she explains. “But there should be more that they can do.”

Police say the water is cold and filled with silt and debris, and are urging the public to stay away from river banks.