Search shifts to recovery mission after man swept away in river - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Search shifts to recovery mission after man swept away in Tallapoosa River

TALLASSEE, AL (WSFA) -

Day two and still no sign of 27-year old John William Picken in the Tallapoosa River in Tallassee.

"We're still holding out hope," said Tallassee police chief Jimmy Rodgers.

Picken apparently slipped from the rocks and fell into the river while fishing with friends and his brother Thursday afternoon.

A search team consisting of around 12 departments from the local area and 20 divers have turned up nothing as of this writing.

Chief Rodgers believes Picken slipped when the river suddenly rose with swift currents, moments after Alabama Power released water through the dam about a mile upstream.

Before that happens there is a warning, a horn alerting fishermen downstream a rush of water is on the way.

"The other three were able to get off the rocks safely but Picken fell and we believe even though he was a strong swimmer the currents overtook him," said Rodgers.

Police say Picken was not wearing a lifejacket.

Today, more than 24 hours later despite an intensive search from the ground and air there's been no trace of the Wetumpka resident.

On this day the weather is not a factor so that's not an issue for divers but they are facing two tough challenges. The bed in this part of the river is rocky and the water is murk

"That's why our people are having to move slowly," said Rodgers.

There are 80 people connected with search representing 12 departments from the local area.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved

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