Cedar Hill Fire patch

Firefighters and other emergency crews are searching today (July 6) for the body of a 33-year-old man who went missing the day before while he was swimming in the Big River in Cedar Hill.

Chief Mick Fischer of the Cedar Hill Fire Protection District said he didn’t know the name of the man, who is presumed dead.

“It’s a recovery at this point,” Fischer said.

He said the man got in the river on Sunday (July 5) at Cedar Hill Park on Cedar Hill Road, which has river access.

The man was swimming with family and friends when he was swept away in a strong current, Fischer said.

He said Cedar Hill Fire got the water rescue call at about 1:30 p.m. and crews searched for the man on Sunday until dark.

Fischer said crews resumed the search today, with the help of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

He said crews plan to use sonar to try to find man and may put divers in the river as well.

Fischer said he does not recommend swimming at the Cedar Hill river access, and the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Department advises against it as well.

The parks department also advises against swimming at Rockford Beach in House Springs, where local firefighters have responded to three water rescue calls this season.

High Ridge Fire Protection District Engineer John Barton said crews were dispatched at 4:15 p.m. June 27 for the latest water rescue call at Rockford Beachm after an adult man got swept up in the current there.

Byrnes Mill Police Sgt. Jamie Mayberry said he and a Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy were first on the scene.

“By the time we got there, he was out of danger,” Mayberry said.

He said the man was swimming at the beach when he got in trouble, and a couple of on-lookers tried to help, but the man eventually was able to make it to the boat ramp himself.

Barton said Big River Ambulance crews evaluated the man on the scene, and he was not injured or transported to a hospital.

The other calls this season were on May 31 and June 2, and the swimmers made it safely out of the currents in both cases.

Barton said he is worried High Ridge Fire will see an increase in water rescue calls this summer since some local pools may be closed or people may not want to go to the pools that are open because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rockford Beach is a dangerous body of water that people really shouldn’t be swimming in,” he said.