The search continued Thursday along the Passumpsic River in Barnet for a missing 22 year-old local man whose canoe overturned in rough water Wednesday.
Zachary M. Florio of Passumpsic was last seen floating away from two friends who were clinging to rocks after their canoe capsized in the rapids just south of the Comerford Dam.
Area police, firefighters, fish and game officers from two states and emergency rescue personnel converged on the area along Comerford Dam Road in Barnet just after 2 p.m. Wednesday and launched a massive search and rescue operation for Florio.
The canoe was located five miles down river by a fish and game officer but there was no sign of Florio. The search was suspended Wednesday night and resumed on Thursday. By the afternoon the operation had entered into a recovery phase with marine units from Vermont and New Hampshire and a New Hampshire State Police helicopter focusing their efforts to find Florio along a mile-long stretch of the river just south of the dam.
A Vermont State Police boat unit repeatedly dragged an underwater sonar unit up and down the river while a marine patrol boat from the New Hampshire Department of Fish & Game searched further down the river. VSP divers stood by along the shore at the base of an old railroad trestle along with rescue personnel from Calex Ambulance, Barnet Fire & Rescue and the St. Johnsbury Fire Department water rescue team.
The New Hampshire State Police helicopter moved slowly up and down the river often hovering over a single spot for minutes at a time.
Members of the Caledonia County Red Cross Disaster Action Team provided food and water at the scene.