Engineers Lower Olentangy Water Levels In Search For Missing Brothers

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The Columbus Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit says it’s getting a break that could help aid in the recovery of two men who are presumed drowned in the Olentangy River. 

Divers tell 10TV the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is lowering the river by three feet.  Divers say that will slow the powerful and dangerous current that has prevented them from getting too close to the Dodridge Dam, where the men were last seen.  

Family members say on Saturday evening, 20-year old Anthony Martin and his stepbrother, 18-year old Joseph Welch, waded into the river, but got swept away by the swift current.  Witnesses told family members the men were holding on to each other as they went over the dam. 

Divers say it’s possible the hydraulic system trapped the victims in the spot where they went over.  Although it appears the current is pushing downstream, it’s actually pulling everything back towards the dam. 

“Sometimes stuff will get shot out, and it might go 10 or 12 feet, but then the current will pull it back in,” Sgt. Edward Powell explained to 10TV on Tuesday.  Divers said it was too dangerous to bring the recovery boat close to the dam, but divers searched in chest-deep water downstream and searched by sonar in sections of the river where the current isn’t as swift.

Meanwhile, family members of the missing men tied colorful ribbons along the pedestrian path that crosses over the Olentangy River just south of the Dodridge Dam.

“The bows are a sign of faith,” said the missing mens’ aunt, Tammy Jewell.  “We’re sad because we’re on the fourth day and there’s no recovery.”

Divers say they will resume the search by 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday and say they’re hopeful the river will be low and slow enough to search the dam and end the grieving families’ painful wait.