An 18-year-old Columbus teen was identified as the victim of the recent drowning near Tailrace Park.
Platte County Sheriff Ed Wemhoff on Tuesday afternoon confirmed Bryan Montenegro Gonzalez was located in the Platte River, approximately 3 miles east of Tailrace Park, where the victim was last seen before going under the water.
About 8:35 a.m on June 11, as the search for the victim of the recent drowning near Tailrace Park continued, a helicopter flying the area located the victim and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office, along with members of Colfax County Sheriff’s Office, Schuyler Fire Department and Northeast Nebraska Airboat Association, responded to the scene.
Law enforcement and other personnel first responded to the park about 7:45 p.m. Saturday in response to what was initially reported as a potential drowning. Upon arrival, deputies were able to determine from several witnesses that a male subject was last seen in the Platte River near Tailrace Park, according to a release from the sheriff.
Members of the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Platte County Dive and Rescue Team, Colfax County Sheriff’s Office, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Fire Department and Schuyler Fire Department, conducted a search of the river; however, the search was unsuccessful in locating the male subject and continued into Monday and early Tuesday.
"We are working hard to recover the victim, but tasks such as this present their own set of difficulties. We will continue to work to recover the victim, and we are thankful to several of our citizens, both local and from other communities, who have offered their assistance due to our somewhat limited resources," Wemhoff told The Columbus Telegram via email about 8 a.m. Tuesday, before the teen was found by officials. "We have had citizens in airboats, motor boats, as well as aircraft, who have been and are continuing to put in their time to help us recover the victim. They have as much of a desire, as we do, to recover the victim for the family."
The Sheriff’s Office, along with Platte County Emergency Management, reminded the public to use extreme caution when entering any area lake and/or river.
"Due to recent flooding, the once familiar channels and streams of our rivers have changed, as well as created (deeply) hidden washed out areas, as well as hidden debris. As a result of the recent wet spring, our rivers are experiencing larger volumes of water which leads to a stronger current than what is typically experienced this time of year," the sheriff stated in the initial release. "These water conditions have created potentially unsafe undertows, that can unexpectedly pull you under the water or drag you downstream."
Anyone with any additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Platte County Sheriff’s Office at 402-564-3229.