A search for a missing man on the Niangua River could have had a much different outcome. The man was reunited with his family after spending the night on the river. He was reported missing on Thursday night shortly before midnight when he failed to return from floating the river.

A search for a missing man on the Niangua River could have had a much different outcome. The man was reunited with his family after spending the night on the river. He was reported missing on Thursday night shortly before midnight when he failed to return from floating the river.

Although the search lasted several hours, the man was eventually located near Mother’s Retreat with minimal injuries. Southwest Fire and Mid County Fire Protection Districts along with the Missouri Highway Patrol took part in the search.

The subject reported to rescuers that he was bruised when his raft hit a root in the river. He ended up staying on the river overnight and was headed down the river when he met up with the Mid-County crew.

Although the incident had a good outcome, situations like this and another similar incident that Mid-County Fire Protection has responded to in the last year in the same vicinity highlight the need to take precautions and plan for any outing. “

I would stress first, be sure you are aware of the environment you are in.  What I mean is don’t go into an area you are unfamiliar with without the assistance of someone that knows the area,” MCFPD Chief Scott Franssen said. “ In the area where this occurred it is very sparsely populated and there are not many options for getting help.  You should never try go it alone.”

There was limited to no cell service where crews were searching and the person had no way of calling for help as his cell phone battery died.  Had he been able to call for help, he had no idea where he was. Always make sure someone knows where you are headed.

“We started searching at 11:42pm .  We used our boat to search where we could until the river became so shallow that they had to proceed on foot.  It got a little hazardous for our crews so we recalled them and finally cleared at around 3:30am,” Franssen said. “ As soon as it was daylight our crews and the MSHP crews went further upstream and put in.  After about an hour our crews found the gentlemen near the campground on Garden Road.  He was dehydrated but other than that apparently OK.  Our crew was able to get him to the campground where he was reunited with his family.”

Franssen said good advice to follow would be to start early in the day so that you reach your destination while it is still light out.  It is hazardous to try and search an area like that after dark.

Be sure your cell phone is charged, be aware of the area you are in, have a plan, have plenty of drinking water and food should you become lost. Franssen said common sense can go a long way in preventing a tragedy.

“It was a job well done by all agencies involved and we are thankful the patient was not severely injured,” he said. “Fortunately there was a good outcome.”