The search for four missing men, including two brothers from the area whose SUV overturned into a river in Idaho, has turned into a recovery mission, according to Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings.
"We are still searching for the men, but at this point, we consider it a recovery mission," said Giddings.
Mahopac residents Raymond Ferrieri, 25, and his brother, 22-year-old Jesse Ferrieri, and the two others have not been seen since the Chevrolet Suburban flipped over into the Selway River on Monday morning.
Special search units from Idaho and Montana were able to traverse whipping waters and still snow-covered roads using a raft and line to reach the SUV Thursday, but no one was found inside the vehicle, the sheriff said.
The longtime sheriff said he is used to the wilderness and the tragedies that can occur in the wild backcountry.
"We are calling it a recovery, as hard as that is to hear for the families, due to the conditions of the water and the SUV," he said. 'If they didn't drown, they could have gotten out of the SUV and walked to safety."
Giddings said the windows were cracked and the doors were torn, so anyone still able could have gotten out of the vehicle.
The men, who were staying at the Paradise campground, told others they were excited to get out and hunt. Officials said they were checking a bear bait when the accident happened. Two were able to escape and walk back to the campground for help. The four others, including two from Oregon, are still missing.
Giddings described the area as being "way back in the boonies,” and it takes hours to reach using ATV and other rescue vehicles. Searchers also said the river was roaring and the area is known for plenty of black bears, grizzlies, and wolves.
The sheriff said cadaver dogs and men on horseback are going to search the area on Saturday and Sunday. Once Monday has passed, the search will be called off.
"A lot of family members are here and its hard for them to believe their loved ones are gone, but they are," he said. "I've been here a long time, I have to face the facts."
He said in addition to the missing men case, he is working the murder of a 23-year-old woman and another man who drove into the river and is still missing.
"Bad things happen no matter where you live, but if you don't understand the elements in the backcountry it can kill you," Giddings said.
This continues to be a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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