June 24, 2014 6:53 pm
Updated: June 25, 2014 7:22 am

Desperate search continues for young man swept into Highwood River


CALGARY- A heartbroken family is feverishly searching for their missing son, who was swept into the Highwood River over the weekend.

19-year-old Justin McNeil was caught in the current and swept downstream on Sunday evening. He has not been seen since.

A major rescue effort has since been launched, in an effort to bring him home.

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“I am thinking the worst outcome, and how we’re going to deal with it,” says mother Sheila MacLean. “Finding him, alive or not, is going to be our closure and that’s what we need right now.”

Justin’s brother remains hopeful, despite every passing hour.

“I do feel like there’s something wrong, and he’s not OK,” says Jeremy MacLean. “The other part of me is hoping to be optimistic.”

RCMP and Calgary Police initially launched a search which included a helicopter, but say the high water is not safe for dive teams. The MacLeans, along with a number of volunteers, spent Tuesday fashioning their own gear to search the murky waters.

Another aerial search is planned for Wednesday.

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