Search for missing Boulder River fisherman to increase over weekend

Posted at 9:45 AM, Aug 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-03 12:09:13-04

SWEETGRASS COUNTY — Efforts to find a 50 year-old man who reportedly fell into the Boulder River in Sweet Grass County in late July will be increased this weekend with additional support from southwest counties.

The Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s Office and Sweet Grass County Search and Rescue are preparing for an extensive search Saturday, Aug. 3, in an effort to locate Bradford Wade Meadows, 50, of Billings.

Meadows was fishing Wednesday, July 24, near 4 Mile Campground when he fell into the river shortly after noon and was swept downstream. The campground is located approximately 42 miles south of Big Timber.

Sheriff Alan Ronneberg closed the lower portion of the campground as a staging area for Saturday’s search. In addition to local SAR volunteers, Ronneberg said two dog teams from Gallatin County, a drone pilot from Sweet Grass UAS and a dive team from U.S. Water Rescue out of Yellowstone County plan to assist.

Water levels have dropped in the week since Meadows was last seen, however conditions remain treacherous in the search area. Heavy rapids below Meadows’ entry point hamper the use of boats to better gain access to the river’s midpoints. Ronneberg said they plan to use a rope system and a raft to gain more water mobility during tomorrow’s search.

The SGCSO asks the public to give crews plenty of room to work during the search by avoiding the search area, which begins at the lower 4 Mile Campground north to the Hawley Mountain Ranch. Landowners and recreationists can also expect heavy traffic along Main Boulder Road for the duration of the search.

If you have information about this missing fisherman, please contact the Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s Office at (406) 932-5143.