UPDATE: Search suspended for missing good Samaritan - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Search suspended for missing good Samaritan

JEFFERSON COUNTY-- Authorities have suspended the search for a missing Jackson man that fell in the Rock River early Thursday morning. Investigators say 33-year-old Tyler Prichard stopped on state highway 26 just before five o'clock in the morning to help a woman who had crashed.

He told her they needed to get out of the roadway to avoid being hit by another car. That's when authorities say he tried to climb onto a ledge, but slipped and fell into the river.

"Purely just a good Samaritan who saw something happened a went to render assistance," said Jefferson Fire Chief Ron Wegner.

Crews spent the afternoon searching for Prichard. They initially had to break through the ice to try and find the man. After the minutes turned into hours-- crews acknowledged the rescue effort had become a recovery effort. "We're looking for a body at this point," said Wegner.

Frigid temperatures also hampered search efforts. Neighbors watching the search couldn't believe what had happened.

"For some freakish reason he fell off the side of the bridge trying to do something good for somebody else," said Gary Nieson.

Authorities said the whole thing happened in just seconds and that the woman had no time to warn Prichard to get off the ledge. 

"Obviously a very caring individual who put his own safety at risk to help somebody else I think speaks volumes to who this gentleman was," said Wegner.

Investigators said Prichard may not have known he was over water when he attempted to straddle the ledge. Search crews plan to continue recovery efforts Friday.



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