1 drowning victim recovered from Mississippi River in Union Co., 1 missing

1 drowning victim recovered from Mississippi River in Union Co., 1 missing
Published: Jul. 9, 2017 at 9:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM CDT
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(Source: Julia Eddy)
(Source: Julia Eddy)
(Source: Brittany Jacob/KFVS)
(Source: Brittany Jacob/KFVS)

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The body of one of two people who went missing in the Mississippi River near the Grand Tower boat dock has been recovered.

A pilot with Southern Skyz Aviation was helping in the search for David Totten, 50, and Paul Johnson, 13, when he spotted something in the river around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11.

According to a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, crews searched along the river banks from Grand Tower to Cape Girardeau on Wednesday, but did not find Johnson.

Crews got back out on the Mississippi River on Thursday to look for him.

Totten and Johnson, both of Du Quoin, were reported missing on Sunday, July 9.

The pilot called law enforcement and reported he saw what appeared to be a body floating in the river about 12 miles south of Grand Tower in Union County, Ill. Recovery boats from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the Cape Girardeau Fire Department both responded to the area.

Totten's body was recovered from the river around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 12.

Search crews from the Jackson and Union County Sheriff's Offices, the Illinois Department of Conservation Police, and Southern Skyz Aviation are still searching for Paul Johnson.

Family members said they were having a picnic when they received calls that two family members were missing.

Deputies were called to the beach area of Devil's Backbone Park in Grand Tower, Illinois around 2:30 p.m. on July 9, for a report of a possible drowning.

Investigators said Totten and Johnson, who are cousins, were swimming in the Mississippi River when they apparently got caught up in the current and pulled under water. The pair failed to resurface.

Multiple rescue boats from the sheriff's department and Illinois Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene to search the river.

A search plane from the Illinois State Police was also used to search the area and the United States Coast Guard also helped in the search.

During the search on Monday, July 10, a boat occupied by a third-party searcher flipped over in the river. The man was not hurt and was able to get out of the water right away.

According to Grand Tower's fire chief, the area where the two went missing can be very dangerous.

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