Winnipeg police say the underwater search and recovery unit is continuing the search for nine-year-old Darius Bezecki.
The nine-year-old boy went missing after entering the Red River adjacent to the Louise Bridge Friday evening.
“I think this is an incident that’s going to tug at the hearts of a lot of people in Winnipeg and even beyond our city. It’s extremely sad and we hope that there’s a positive outcome,” Winnipeg police information officer Const. Jay Murray said Saturday.
Bezecki is believed to have gone into the water on the north side of the Red River, which is west of the bridge, but police can’t confirm the exact location.
The child, who police said lives near the river, was riding his bicycle with siblings and a friend before he went missing in the water.
Police and paramedics responded to reports of a person in distress just after 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Police released his photo in hopes that he exited the water and may have been spotted in the area.
“There is a possibility he may have exited the water, so again we’re pleading to members of the public to pay attention to that picture, if you live in the vicinity of the Red River, please check your yard,” Murray said at a Saturday media briefing.
The police search is focused on the immediate area.
Initial attempts to find the boy were unsuccessful and the scene was turned over to police Friday evening.
Police are using a thermal-imaging drone to search the river for the boy. A police officer from the underwater search recovery unit on scene told Global News the unit is using sonar imaging to search under the water to possibly prepare to dive into the river.
The search has since turned into a recovery operation, Murray said Saturday.
“But we are still holding out hope that we can locate Darius,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone can fathom the pain, the anxiety and the worry that that family’s experiencing right now.”