Search for missing 19-year-old suspended for the day - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Search for missing 19-year-old suspended for the day

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Friends identified this picture from Facebook as Allysa Huffstutler. Friends identified this picture from Facebook as Allysa Huffstutler.
Sheriff's deputies gather to renew their efforts at 6 a.m. (Photo: Clare Huddleston) Sheriff's deputies gather to renew their efforts at 6 a.m. (Photo: Clare Huddleston)
Divers prepare to search in the Swan Bridge area of the river. (Photo: Clare Huddleston) Divers prepare to search in the Swan Bridge area of the river. (Photo: Clare Huddleston)
A helicopter searches from the sky. (Photo: Clare Huddleston) A helicopter searches from the sky. (Photo: Clare Huddleston)
Volunteers arrive to aid in the search. (Photo: Clare Huddleston) Volunteers arrive to aid in the search. (Photo: Clare Huddleston)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The search for a woman who went missing in the Warrior River has been suspended for the day, Blount County authorities said Thursday afternoon.

Dive teams were pulled out of the water around 5 p.m. and ground search crews stopped around 6 p.m. in the search for 19-year-old Allysa Huffstutler, a woman who disappeared while white water rafting with friends near Cleveland.

Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, some of the floats, including Huffstutler's, overturned in the water. When the group got back together and realized Huffstutler wasn't with them, one of the guys in the group hiked for about an hour to call for help.

Crews began searching for the missing woman, a junior at the University of Alabama, around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

State Troopers used an infrared helicopter to look for signs of Huffstutler, but did not see any heat along the river and couldn't use infrared in the thick woods nearby.

Others walked the river banks overnight, but didn't see any sign of her.

On Thursday, more than 100 volunteers and trained rescue workers searched the Warrior River from three staging areas, both sides of King's Bend and Swann Bridge.

Dive teams from Hoover, Cullman and Trussville took turns searching the hold in the river where Huffstutler was last seen, an area about 100 yards wide and a quarter-mile long.

Huffstutler's uncle, Larry Staton, says her family is staying hopeful that she is unharmed.

"We're holding out hope that she's okay. She was a certified scuba diver and she's also a trained lifeguard. So she's a very strong swimmer and we're holding out hope that she's still alive," Staton said.

Around 3 p.m., Blount County Sheriff Loyd Arrington said there were no new developments in the search. Arrington suspended the water search for the day around 4 p.m.

Crews will continue to search for Huffstutler on the ground until nightfall. The water search will resume on Friday morning.

"The message is do not give up hope. We are praying we're gonna find her out in the woods wandering around. But we've gotta look at the river. And there are people in the woods right now, you saw the state helicopter up here. They'll be here as long as needed. We will continue looking until she's found," Sheriff Arrington said.

A group called "Prayers for Allysa Huffstutler" has formed on Facebook. Two prayer meetings were held Thursday night for Allysa, both at high school football fields.

The prayer meeting at J.H. Pennington High School in Blountsville began at 6:15 p.m. and the prayer meeting at Oneonta High School started at 7:30 p.m.

Stay with this story for more information as the search continues. We'll also sent out updates on Twitter @myfoxal and our MyFoxAl.com Facebook page.

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