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Search for 2 men who jumped in Suwannee River to save boy continues


Update: 11:33 a.m. 3/17 — The search for the two missing men was called off after about 6 p.m. Sunday night, said police Lt. Jeff Manning. Police and other assisting agencies will continue to conduct periodic searches along the river bank, but the search will not continue 24/7.

Update: 2:07 p.m. 3/14 — The search for both men is ongoing with no results.

Original story: The search for two men who jumped into the Suwannee River Monday to save a young boy has continued into Wednesday with no results.

The men, AJ Melendez, 38, and Haemant Mathooran, 19, both of Gilchrist County, attempted to rescue an 8-year-old boy who fell into the river, but could not due to the river’s strong current.

A third person successfully rescued the boy after Melendez and Mathooran didn’t return from the water.

Lars Andersen, owner of Adventure Outpost where Melendez worked, organized a search party to continue Wednesday.

“Not quite sure what we can do, but feel like we need to do something,” Andersen said. “It’s hard to sit back and wait.”

Andersen said the incident happened at Log Landing, located in west Gilchrist County, about 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is assisting in the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office search for the two men, said commission spokeswoman Karen Parker.

The likelihood of finding Melendez and Mathooran alive has diminished, said Jeff Manning, Gilchrist County sheriff lieutenant. Manning cited the rising river level and fast current as factors that have decreased the chances of finding the men alive.

Casey Christ wrote this story online. 

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