Police resume search for missing diver in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The search efforts for missing Buffalo police diver Craig Lehner resumed on Sunday morning. Dozens of law enforcement agencies have been searching along the Niagara River for three days trying to find him.

Officials warn that Sunday’s severe weather could impact search efforts.  If conditions become too dangerous crews will be pulled from the water.

Buffalo Police say the Sunday search is now just a “search,” not a “search and rescue.”

“We’re doing the best we can to search for our brother,” said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo, with Buffalo police.

From dawn to dusk, dive teams from Buffalo police, Rochester and several other agencies have been searching the Niagara River all day Saturday, hoping to find missing police diver 34-year-old Craig Lehner.

“Craig was proud to be a buffalo police officer, how one of the best days of his life was when he became a K-9 officer,” said Lt. Rinaldo.

The very officers who worked side by side with Lehner have been braving the rushing waters of the Niagara River to find him.

“Sending a sonar signal through a search area followed by a remote camera, followed by actual divers flowing with the current and doing a physical search,” said Lt. Rinaldo.

Even private citizens who are master divers volunteered to help. Lt. Rinaldo says crews were able to narrow their search Saturday.

“Based on some information that experienced divers have told us we were able to recover some photos of the area from when the emergency occurred, there are some city surveillance cameras down in this area,” said Rinaldo.

Rinaldo says they’ve been using some of the best sonar equipment available which was flown in by NYPD.

Family and friends of Officer Lehner looked on along the river as rescue crews rotated their teams all day. Police say they’re remaining prayerful, but also thankful for the incredible support.

“The search will continue until we find our officer,” said Rinaldo.

The search is scheduled to continue first thing Sunday, but Rinaldo says he’s concerned about the weather forecast. With high winds expected, they’ll have to determine if it’ll be safe for dive teams to go out on the water.


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