UPDATE 12:00 noon 6/12/14

The victim in Wednesday's vehicle recovery effort in the Clark Fork River has been identified as Melvin Arthur Beedle, 71. The cause and manner of death are under investigation by the Missoula County Coroner. The investigation into what caused the accident is being handled by the Missoula Police Department.

UPDATE 4:00 P.M. 6/11/2014

Missoula Police Department Public Information Officer Travis Welsh issued a news release on Wednesday afternoon regarding efforts to recover the vehicle that submerged in the Clark Fork River.

Recovery operations continued this morning for the vehicle reported to have gone into the river yesterday afternoon at about 4:35 pm. Operations had been suspended last night at approximately 9:30pm as it began to get dark.

This morning, an underwater camera deployed by Missoula County Search & Rescue was able to discern the tires of a car and it was determined the vehicle was upside down in deep water, beneath the railroad trestle; the same location efforts were focused the night before. A line was attached to the vehicle, however it came loose when tension was applied, and the vehicle floated further down stream. It came to rest approximately 150 feet away, and this time had breached the surface and was partially visible.

At about 2:00 pm this afternoon a water rescue team from the Missoula Fire Department was able to access the interior of the vehicle and confirm the deceased driver was inside. Upon the recovery of the victim, the vehicle was towed to shore, and then hoisted to street level by crane.

The case is currently under investigation by the Missoula Police Department.

We wish to express our appreciation for the skill and expertise displayed by the Missoula Fire Department, and the Missoula County Search & Rescue.


UPDATE 2:15, 6/11/2014

A funeral home vehicle has been called to the Clark Fork River, body of driver believed to be inside submerged vehicle.

UPDATE 1:15 P.M, 6/11/2014

Search and rescue crews have affirmed that they have found the vehicle and are currently pulling it up out of the Clark Fork river.

UPDATE 10:15 A.M. 6/11/2014 West Broadway street has reopened to thru traffic and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have officially closed the Clark Fork River from Higgins Ave. to Russel Street.
Search and Rescue crews are working to determine whether or not the object spotted in the water late Tuesday night is indeed the missing vehicle. UPDATE 10:00 P.M. Tuesday, June 10 The Missoula County Sheriff's Office reports that the search for a submerged vehicle has been suspended for the night and will resume on Wednesday morning. UPDATE 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 10 An object has been spotted under the water near the MRL train trestle. The sheriff's department says a crane has been moved into position to help retrieve what is hoped to be a missing vehicle. At about 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, witnesses say that a maroon SUV drove into the Clark Fork River and was lost from sight under the fast-moving water.

Acting Missoula City Fire Department Battalion Chief David Wolter said several crews are out on the water at this time attempting to locate the missing vehicle. "We've got our rescue watercraft on the river, and we've also tied into Missoula County Search and Rescue at this time and they have their boat on the river as well," Wolter said. "We've used the Med-Star helicopter to fly over the water in the search along with law enforcement. We've scanned from the point of entry in the 600 block of West Broadway all the way down past Russell Street, and there's no sign of the missing vehicle." Wolter said divers with Search and Rescue were due to enter the water this evening to continue the search.

Photos in slideshow courtesy of Brandon Darrah:

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