Elk Creek Falls

Graphic: U.S. Forest Service

ELK RIVER, ID - Crews continued to search on Wednesday for missing 16-year-old Luis Diaz, a Deary High School student from Bovill, who fell into Elk Creek Falls on Sunday. The dam at the Elk River Reservoir was blocked on Wednesday morning and the water flow was almost stopped. According to the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office, a dive team, made up of a Clearwater County Sheriff's Deputy and an Idaho County Search and Rescue member, was able to search the pool bottom at the middle falls but did not find the victim.

A member of the rope team then rappelled down the falls to search along and behind the falls. The rope team member was not able to search all of the areas due to the remaining water flow but did find a pool of water behind the falls, near the bottom, that could not be seen previously. However, he was not able to find the victim. A drone from the Idaho State Police also searched the area with no success.

As planning was taking place to again search on Thursday, operations crews began to remove the gear from the area for the night as other searchers continued to watch the falls. Just before dark, part of the victims body was spotted behind the falls and efforts to recover the body began. A rappeller again went down the falls to try and recover the victim, who was wedged in the rocks. Crews were unable get him out Wednesday evening.

Clearwater County Sheriff's Deputies, along with an Idaho Fish and Game Officer are staying at the falls over night. The CCSO says efforts will resume at daylight.

Update: 9/12/19

After one of the most technically challenging Search and Rescue Operations in many years for Clearwater County, Luis Diaz was recovered from the middle falls at Elk Creek Falls.