RIVER SEARCH: Car plunges into Mississippi in Minneapolis - KMSP-TV

RIVER SEARCH: Car plunges into Mississippi in Minneapolis

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Rain and river currents are making recovery efforts difficult for crews trying to recover a car that went into Mississippi River near the 10th Avenue bridge in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday morning.

"The current is 4 to 5 times what it normally is in the summertime, so the water is just whipping," Maj. Darrell Huggett, of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, explained.

No missing persons have been reported, and authorities do not yet know if anyone was inside the vehicle when it plunged into the water.

A jogger who saw the car go into the river called police at about 9 a.m. The vehicle was still floating by the time officers arrived; however, it sunk before water patrol arrived.

Heavy rains, gusty winds and lightning made the search difficult throughout the morning and kept divers out of the water due to the dangerous conditions. Additionally, the weather "wreaked havoc" on the electronic devices crews used to search for the car.

Currently, authorities are using side sonar, which increases the search area to 40-50 yards, in 50-degree water at a depth of 8 to 10 feet.

"It looks like a rocket," Lt. Art Sanders, of Hennepin County Water Patrol, told Fox 9 News. "We pull it behind the boat and … it sends out sonar images. So, it'll send sound out, and sound will come back to us, and from those sound waves, we can determine where an object is."

Huggett explained that vehicles normally submerge at the nose first and can tumble in river currents, so authorities currently do not know if the vehicle traveled any further down river.

Once the car is located, water patrol plans to send down a camera to see if anyone is inside and read the license plate, but the depth could make that difficult.

Investigators say there is a good chance the car was stolen and dumped in the river. Deputies told Fox 9 News that thieves will often drive it slowly and bail out, or place something on the accelerator to make the car travel down a bank and into the river. Even so, authorities say they must treat the case as though there is a person in the vehicle until they can prove otherwise.

"The weather's been extremely challenging for us out here," Huggett said. "The deputies are wet, they're cold, but they'll continue to work this scene until we can get some closure."

The search was called off at dusk on Sunday after crews focused their attention on an area between two culverts near the Bohemian Flats along the West Bank. The search and will resume on Monday morning.

Investigators are also looking at surveillance footage along the riverbank to try to determine how the car got into the river.

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