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Update: Search suspended for woman missing in Stillwater River

Posted at 7:34 AM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 20:07:31-04

UPDATE: Monday, 6:00 p.m.

STILLWATER COUNTY - MTN News spoke with one man who camped next to the family of the missing 44-year-old woman at Itch-Kep-Pe Park in Columbus.

Duane Werner saw the family right before they went rafting on the Stillwater River on Sunday.

“They were getting ready to take off on the raft, them and the little ones,” said Werner on Monday.

Werner and his father went to check out another campsite at Fireman's Point around 2 p.m. when they encountered the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office.

“That’s when the sheriffs showed up and said 'hey, the raft just went over with a little baby and a lady on it.' I thought whoa,” said Werner.

The pair joined the sheriff's office in their search for the missing woman.

"Dad went with one sheriff and I went the other guy down to the headgates to see if we could see them there,” Werner said.

Werner spoke with the family Sunday night after the woman went missing.

"I walked over to their camp, started looking, talking to him, visiting with him. He was pretty upset,” said Werner.


UPDATE: Monday, 1:30 p.m.

STILLWATER COUNTY - The search for the missing woman was suspended Monday afternoon due to unsafe weather and river conditions, the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office said in a press release.

"At this time a 44-year-old female is still missing and believed to be in the Yellowstone River," the press release states. "The area has been searched by jet boat, drone, Helicopter, and members of emergency services. The search has been suspended at this time due to weather conditions and river conditions that are unsafe, but further search efforts will be conducted as weather permits. The Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone that comes upon anything in the area that could be tied to this incident to please contact Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 406-322-5326."


UPDATE: Sunday, 9:30 p.m.

STILLWATER COUNTY - The Stillwater County Sheriff's Office says four people - three adults and one child - were aboard the raft when it overturned and wrapped around a bridge pier on the Stillwater River. One woman in her 40s is still missing in the river, though search and rescue operations were suspended at dark and will resume in the morning.

Undersheriff Randy Smith says the call of the overturned raft came in at 1:11 p.m. Sunday and rescuers were able to pull the two other adults and the child to safety from the raft. None of them were injured.

Smith says the woman currently missing in the river was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) at the time of the incident.

Smith says all four of the people were from the area, but none of their identities have been released at this time.

Multiple agencies are assisting in the search and boaters and recreators are asked to stay off those sections of the rivers.


A rescue operation is underway on the Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers after a raft overturned at the Beartooth Drop, states Stillwater County Search and Rescue.

Reports of the raft wrapped around a bridge pillar in the river were first shared on Facebook around 2 p.m. Sunday and Search and Rescue posted details and pictures of the raft in the water late Sunday afternoon.

It is not yet confirmed how many people were in the raft at the time it flipped.

According to a Stillwater River Guide posted by the Billings-based boat shop, Sunshine Sports, Beartooth Drop is a wide ledge spanning nearly the expanse of the Stillwater River below the Swinging Bridge Fishing Access Site, upstream of the confluence of the Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers.

The river guide states at flow levels above 4000 cfs, this section is capable of flipping rafts. Just downstream of the Beartooth Drop is a bridge pier. The Stillwater River Guide says during high flows, many rafts have been upset and wrapped here.

Current stream flow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows the Stillwater River was flowing between 4,000 cfs and 5,000 cfs on Sunday, making a sharp climb from the previous few days when river levels were sitting below 3,500 cfs.