Yellowstone scales back search for missing swimmer

After nine days of intensive searching, authorities in Yellowstone National Park are scaling back their efforts to find a missing swimmer.

Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang, a 21-year old seasonal concessionaire employee from China, was last seen being swept down the Yellowstone River on Thursday, July 23.

The park is continuing limited, periodic searches of the river corridor downstream from where Xiang disappeared in the northern section of the park, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

The searches will be conducted during daily backcountry patrols and incorporated into routine research operations and wildlife monitoring overflights. Information flyers are posted on trailheads and other access points to advise anglers and hikers in the area to be alert for any signs of Xiang. Raft companies, fishing guides, and other recreational river users outside of the park have also been contacted and given information about the missing man.

Nearly 100 individuals have been involved in the search for Xiang, including dogs, ground searchers, and helicopter search teams. Thorough ground and air searches were initially conducted daily after the man’s disappearance 12 days ago.

Xiang was backpacking with four friends when he disappeared while swimming in the Yellowstone River near its confluence with Hellroaring Creek. Xiang was in the water with two of his companions when he was pulled away from the shore by the current of the swiftly flowing river.

He was struggling to stay afloat as efforts to pull him back to shore were unsuccessful.  He was swept downriver into a long stretch of rapids before he disappeared from view.  Search efforts have not turned up any sign of Xiang, who is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang is asked to call Yellowstone National Park at 307-344-2643.

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