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BOY, 17, IS FEARED DROWNED AFTER FALLING INTO RIVER

Niagara Parks Police and several U.S. agencies combed the Lower Niagara River for several hours late Thursday after a 17-year-old boy apparently slipped into the river and was swept away by the current.

State Parks police said they received a cell phone call at 8:15 p.m. reporting that someone had fallen into the river. They joined in the search with Canadian authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Lewiston No. 1 and Upper Mountain fire companies and the Niagara County Sheriff's Department.

The search was continuing past midnight. Canadian police were not disclosing the victim's age or identity or releasing information about the incident.

State Parks Police said it appeared that the teen-ager was walking along the water with his family when he slipped and fell into the water and disappeared. They said family members were apparently undergoing grief counseling late Thursday.

The Coast Guard, the sheriff's Marine Division and the Lewiston Fire Company No. 1 all had boats out searching for the teen-ager. The Erie County Sheriff's Department's helicopter, using heat-detection equipment, also assisted in the search.

Lewiston No. 1 Fire Chief Jim Ellis said the Upper Mountain firefighters used infrared equipment on his department's boat as part of the operation.

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