Two 22-year-old men were swept into the Mississippi River across from downtown Minneapolis shortly before sunset Tuesday, and one of them survived going over St. Anthony Falls, but the other was still missing Wednesday.
The incident happened at Water Power Park, near an Xcel Energy site along the St. Anthony Main section of the city, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
Grant Keiner told park police that he and roommate Christopher Stanley climbed a fence “in order to sit along the Mississippi River.”
Keiner said a large wave came “and swept him into the Mississippi River and over St. Anthony Falls.” He said he got out of the water but could not find Stanley, believing he also went over the falls.
Park police and sheriff’s deputies searched the shore and water Tuesday night and again Wednesday. In a statement Wednesday night, park police asked the public for help in finding Stanley, who was last seen wearing a plaid shirt and blue rain jacket. While the park police released a photo of Stanley with a beard, they said he is clean-shaven with medium length brown hair and about 6 feet tall.
Park Board spokeswoman Robin Smothers said the park was open and signs are posted warning of hazardous waters and “Use at your Own Risk” signs.
Although they were not trespassing, Smothers said it appears that the two men scaled an 8-foot chain-link fence that encloses the park to get closer to the river.
“So, I’m at home. Crying. Praying. Trying to be hopeful,” Stanley’s mother, Melissa Melnick, wrote on Facebook. “The water’s cold. He’s a strong swimmer. So I ask you to pray for him, for those looking for him, for us, and for his friends who are awaiting his arrival at home, too.”
A friend wrote that “Chris is one of the most gentle & thoughtful humans I’ve ever met. He’s graduating in just a couple weeks. The world needs him.”
Stanley is enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences.