Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stanley man missing after rafting accident

Custer, Blaine County rescuers searching Salmon River


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Mark McCoy

Custer and Blaine County officials are searching for a Stanley resident and founding member of the country band Micky and the Motorcars who went missing after a rafting accident on the Salmon River on Saturday.

According to a news release issued by the Custer County Sheriff's Office, Mark McCoy was on an evening fishing trip with friend Steven Herrett when their raft struck a partially submerged log near Mormon Bend Campground just north of Stanley.

The men reportedly abandoned the damaged raft and headed for shore through 4-foot-deep water, a flow that had been boosted by runoff over the weekend and had risen nearly a foot during the day. Herrett made it to shore safely but could not find McCoy, likely hindered by the dwindling daylight. Herrett's dog, who had been on the raft with the men, was also missing.

Custer County Chief Deputy Mike Talbot said neither of the men was wearing a life jacket. The dog was found alive early Sunday morning.

"They had searchlights out from the fire department, and the dog ran toward the lights," he said.

Custer County dispatch was contacted at about 10 p.m. After several hours of searching with Stanley Search and Rescue, Custer County sheriff's Deputy Justin Mitchell requested that Custer County Search and Rescue be dispatched to help with the search.

By early Sunday, Challis Search and Rescue, county deputies, rafting guides and Stanley residents had repeatedly searched up and down the riverbanks. Teams covered ground from Casino Creek to Slate Creek near Clayton, but could find no sign of McCoy.

Blaine County Search and Rescue was requested on Sunday, and Blaine County Sheriff's Office Command Staff Assistant Holly Carter said four county volunteers headed up to Stanley to aid in the effort.

"It's a situation where a life might be in danger, and we try to do this sort of thing to help other counties whenever we can," Carter said.

Carter said none of the county's canine teams was available for the search, but foot teams were adding to the number of boots on the ground in the county.

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On Tuesday, the Custer County Sheriff's Office said rescuers planned to work through that day. However, the office said there had been no sign of McCoy and that the Salmon River was rising further, making searching more difficult and more dangerous.

"The never-ending flow of volunteers continues to rally and support this massive undertaking," the release states. "Our prayers go out to the McCoy family and their friends."

McCoy's name became well known when he joined local musical duo Micky and Gary Braun and created Micky and the Motorcars. McCoy joined Micky when he moved to Arizona to form his own band, and worked as the group's bassist until just a few months ago.

The band later moved to Austin, Texas, where it established itself as an "alt-country" standby and began cutting records.

Shannon Canada, owner of 36D Management, which manages Micky and the Motorcars, said the band did not have a comment regarding McCoy's disappearance.

"We don't have a lot of information right now," Canada said. "The band is trying to make it from Texas to Stanley to be with the family."

Canada said the band had not yet decided whether to cancel its upcoming show in Ketchum on April 28. Micky and the Motorcars had set shows in Twin Falls, Boise and Ketchum for the upcoming weekend before heading to Texas for a show in San Angelo.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

Blaine County Search and Rescue

For more on searches conducted by the all-volunteer Blaine County Search and Rescue team, search "Blaine County Search and Rescue" on our homepage, www.mtexpress.com.

The last major case in which the group was involved was the search for Dex Gannon, a 21-year-old Blaine County man whose body was found near Elkhorn in early 2011.




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