River conditions complicate search efforts for Alfaz Khan

A search dog from PAWS assist in looking for Alfaz Khan who went missing in the Tanana River...
A search dog from PAWS assist in looking for Alfaz Khan who went missing in the Tanana River Sunday after jumping in to save his dog. (John Dougherty/KTVF)(KTVF)
Published: May. 12, 2020 at 4:38 PM AKDT
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The search for a man who went missing in the Tanana River on Sunday continued Tuesday morning. Alfaz Khan, 22, of Salcha was swept away by the river after he jumped in to save his dog.

Numerous government agencies are involved in the search using watercraft, aircraft, humans and dogs. Many of the volunteers aiding in the search are from Khan’s Air National Guard unit who are walking the banks of the river and islands for any sign of him.

A boat equipped with side scanning sonar arrived Tuesday afternoon from Anchorage to assist in the search.

Sergeant Dan Valentine with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers says that they had people watching the area where he fell overnight for any sign of Khan. Valentine said that the rain is making the river higher, which complicates the search. He said the river has risen almost a foot since Monday. The rising water brings more debris into the river and makes walking the bank hazardous.

"We are taking it day by day, and the resources and the information that come into it, we make decisions on. Then [we] use those to plan for the next search operational period," Valentine said.

The searchers are also using dogs to sniff the water where he went in. The dogs have signaled an area where searchers have been using boats with drags to search the bottom of the river.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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