Identity of swimmer missing on the Mississippi River released

By Heartland News

CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - Cairo's fire chief identifies the man missing on the Mississippi river as 20-year-old Eli Blake Culp of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cairo police say Culp was eating lunch with friends on the river around 3:00 Sunday afternoon. Witnesses told police he jumped into the water, went under, and never resurfaced.

The water is very turbulent, and the Missouri Water Patrol says even an expert swimmer would struggle in these waters.

"This is probably one of the worst swirls I have seen in this type of condition," says Corporal Terry Richardson with the Missouri Water Patrol.

"A swimmer would actually wear himself out trying to swim against this," he said.

And that's what Cairo Police say happened to the Culp.

Police Chief Tim Brown says one of the man's friends tried to jump into the water to help save him, but the current was too strong and he backed out.

The water patrol says it is in recovery, not rescue mode, although officials will not say Culp is dead.

But the water patrol says recovery will be difficult.

"The conditions here due to the turbulence of the water is almost impossible because we can't tell if we're looking at the bottom because it's so muddy," Richardson said.  "And it's very hard to even find anything right now."

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