1 presumed dead after SUV plunges into Payette River

SMITHS FERRY, Idaho - At least one person is presumed drowned after a vehicle went off of Idaho 55 and plunged into the Payette River.

The crash happened at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, just north of Smiths Ferry.

According to the Valley County Sheriff's Office, the small SUV missed a curve in the road, went down an embankment where it hit a rock and went into the river.

The SUV floated for a short time before sinking. Witnesses reported seeing a male struggling to exit the vehicle before it sank.

Searchers spent hours scouring the area, but had to call off search at nightfall. Local rafters helped in the effort to locate the submerged vehicle.

The sheriff's office says recovery efforts will resume Monday afternoon, and that the flow of the river will be lowered to help with the search. The recovery operation is expected to cause significant traffic delays along the highway.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call the Valley County Sheriff's Office and speak to Dep. Todd Gerzine at (208) 382-5160.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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