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'We will never stop looking for him': Search resumes for missing police diver

The search for missing Buffalo Police diver Craig E. Lehner resumed Tuesday morning for the fifth consecutive day.

Police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo said the search for the 34-year-old police officer, who vanished Friday afternoon during a training exercise in the Niagara River, has not been scaled back but that police are "redeploying assets" north and that new divers have joined the search to replace divers who are tired. He said Niagara Regional Police have joined the search with a sonar unit, a "super-sophisticated camera with fins that can fight the current to stabilize itself."

Divers and six sonar boats are searching the river from Broderick Park to the International Railroad Bridge, focusing closer to walls on the American shore, Rinaldo said at the 10 a.m. briefing.

"The current makes everything more difficult, as well as the amount of debris that they have to look at," Rinaldo said.

Officers searched the river until sundown Monday but found no trace of Lehner, who disappeared during a Buffalo Police Underwater Recovery Team training exercise in the river at the foot of West Ferry Street.

The U.S. Coast Guard said a cable connecting Lehner to his diving crew broke, leaving him stranded alone underwater.

Lehner, a nine-year veteran of the force and a full-time K-9 officer, is presumed dead.

Rinaldo said a vigil planned for this evening has been rescheduled to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Broderick Park or the Rich Products parking lot nearby.

 

"Everybody's tired. Everybody's stressed. But as I've said, we've got a job to do," Rinaldo said Monday. "... We have a responsibility to bring Craig home for his family and we're getting through it."

Rinaldo said Monday if Lehner is not found in the next day or two, police will discuss possible changes in tactics. Still, a search will go on in some form.

"We will never stop looking for him," Rinaldo vowed.

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