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Pierre man presumed to have drowned; still missing

 A Pierre rescue boat searches for a man presumed to have drowned in the Missouri River Saturday. (photo courtesy Nick Linneman)
A Pierre rescue boat searches for a man presumed to have drowned in the Missouri River Saturday. (photo courtesy Nick Linneman) (KOTA)
Published: Jul. 5, 2020 at 10:52 AM CDT
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A Pierre man has been identified as the person who is still missing after he is presumed to have drowned Friday afternoon on the Missouri River south of the Oahe Dam.

Lee Weber, 37, jumped into the river to save his 8-year-old son who had fallen from a moving boat. The child was saved by a nearby boat. Weber, who was not wearing a life jacket, was swept away by the river’s current. The incident happened at 2:51 p.m. Friday, two miles northwest of Fort Pierre.

An estimated 18 local, state and federal agencies have been involved in the search for Mr. Weber since Friday afternoon. That includes rescue boats, divers, drones, cadaver dogs and the South Dakota Highway Patrol airplane.

The Stanley County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday afternoon the search will be scaled back in the number of agencies involved, but will continue.

Weber was the Hughes County chief deputy sheriff. Hughes County Sheriff Darin Johnson said Weber, who has been with the sheriff’s office since 2015, was a person who cared about his family, his friends and his profession.

“This is a sad moment for his family and all of us who knew Lee, but we are not surprised that he would risk his life to help someone else, especially a family member,” Johnson said. “Lee protected others while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and he did here as well. We will remember him for his unselfishness and his bravery.”

Original story:

A 37-year-old man is presumed to have drowned Friday afternoon in the Missouri River south of the Oahe Dam.

According to the Stanley County Sheriff’s Office, the man jumped into the river to save his 8-year-old son who had fallen in from a moving boat. The child was saved but the father, who was not wearing a life jacket, was swept downriver.

The Stanley County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies are searching for the man. His name has not been released.

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