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Search continues south of Saskatoon for missing 17-year-old swimmer

A crowdfunding page identified the missing 17-year-old swimmer in the South Saskatchewan River just south of Saskatoon as Justin Warwaruk. File / Global News

Editorial note: At the request of the family, Global News has removed the picture of Jason Warwaruk, who went missing on the South Saskatchewan River on Sunday evening.

A scaled-back search on the South Saskatchewan River just south of Saskatoon continued Tuesday for a missing-17-year-old swimmer.

Identified on a fundraising page as Justin Michael Warwaruk, the post said he went missing after diving into the water at the Fred Heal canoe launch on Sunday, July 16.

Authorities were alerted to his disappearance at 8:45 p.m. CT that evening and after eliminating any other possibilities, deployed as many resources as possible to cover as much of the area quickly.

READ MORE: Teen missing on South Saskatchewan River south of Saskatoon

On Monday, the RCMP resumed its operation along with search and rescue teams, additional agencies, a volunteer association and 60 civilians.

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At one point, resources were requested from the Saskatoon Police Service, Saskatoon Fire Department and STARS air ambulance.

“We can see from the air – things that people on the ground can’t see,” said Alex Parra, a pilot with STARS for over four years.

“We can actually relocate the resources, we have a radio in the helicopter that can actually link with radios of the people on the ground doing the search and rescue and tell them details about what we are actually at from the air.”

As far as STARS’ involvement, their assistance has been requested once. A full crew was deployed one hour after Warwaruk vanished.

“At any given time STARS is dispatched, the whole crew goes up – so the whole crew is one nurse, a paramedic and two pilots because the search mission could turn into a scene call for us.”

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On Tuesday, search efforts appeared to be significantly scaled back for the teen from Outlook, Sask., but an RCMP boat was confirmed to be still on the water.

READ MORE: Saskatoon police trying to locate missing man Ryan Giesbrecht

By 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the fundraising page – Help find Justin Warwaruk – had nearly surpassed its goal of $10,000 to help off-set any costs related to the remaining rescue mission.

Alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor in Warwaruk’s disappearance and RCMP would not confirm his swimming ability.

Beachgoers have always been allowed to swim in the area, known for waters a few inches deep to 10 feet deep.

On Tuesday, family asked for their privacy and at times could be seen watching the search from the shoreline.

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