Emmett (KIVI TV) — A man is still missing after falling from his raft on the Payette River near the Washington Street Bridge in Emmett on Saturday, according to the Gem County Sheriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s Department has been searching for 21-year-old Everette Jackson since about 8 p.m. His family, who had traveled all the way from Louisiana, said he was tubing with his girlfriend on the river and got swept up in a current after they missed their exit from the river.
“If it’s your family member, no one is going to look for them like you would,” said his niece, Breon Lyons.
His family said to know him is to love him, describing him as “the sweetest person” and one of life’s greatest blessings.
“It looks different when it’s your family member,” said his sister Kenya Lyons.
His family had to wait until Monday to fly to Boise because of the bad weather in the Treasure Valley. As the weather cleared, they took the next flight and landed in Idaho around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
“We were so far away in Louisiana that we couldn’t help him. We weren’t there to help him,” Breon said.
With currents high and water murky, the sheriff’s department said it was hard to see anything in the river, but the search team is using jet boats, drones and a helicopter to search.
“I have two riverboats out on the river sweeping the banks as we speak,” Gem County Sheriff Donnie Wunder said. “We have a few spotters looking up and down the shore as well.”
Everette’s family is not giving up hope and has spent the day walking up and down the riverbanks in Emmett after landing in Idaho less than 24 hours ago.
“We’ve been out here since about 8:30 just patrolling the area, checking the river and just calling its name, just trying to pray to God to show us a sign,” his niece added.
One of his sisters, Meagan Jackson, says she got a sign from a search this morning.
“I was standing by the river and said ‘Little one please give me a sign’ and I went to the rocks after I finished praying and feathers fell out of the tree onto the ground but I didn’t see any bird. I’m sticking to that,” she said.
The family started GoFundMe to help with travel expenses.
“He’s coming home. We’re not stopping,” they said. “There’s no ‘OK, I have to go.’ We will find him and bring him home. That’s it.
The Gem County Sheriff’s Department is urging the public to stay away from the river as they continue this search. They warn that the high water levels and cold water temperatures of the fast current are life-threatening conditions and it’s best to stay away from the area.
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