- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Billings man is missing and presumed dead after falling into a river in southern Montana over the weekend, Sweet Grass County officials said.

Joseph James Crawford II, 48, slipped and fell 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 meters) into the Boulder River on Sunday near Natural Bridge Falls, a recreation site south of Big Timber, officials said.

Search and rescue crews looked Crawford on Sunday and Monday before suspending active search efforts. A drone will still fly over the search area for the next few days, but searchers won’t be on the water, Sheriff Alan Ronneberg told The Billings Gazette on Tuesday.

Natural Bridge Falls is a popular recreational area in late spring as runoff causes high water levels where the river flows through rock and into a steep canyon. Ronneberg said the water was running 3 feet (1 meter) higher Tuesday than it was on Sunday.

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