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Search for missing boater continues but scaled back

September 16, 2018

LAKE HAVASU CITY — The search for a woman missing from a Sept. 1 boat crash near Topock Marsh enters its third week with efforts scaled back but continuing.

“The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and assisting agencies have covered approximately 18 miles of the Colorado River and have moved the search efforts into Lake Havasu as well,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Anita Mortensen said in an email reply to the Mohave Valley Daily News. “From this point, our searchers are focusing on top water and shoreline searches, as well as the side-scan sonar on our agencies’ patrol boats. If something underwater is seen by the sonar, our divers will investigate. This is being done by our Division of Boating Safety and volunteer posse.”

Raegan Heitzig, 26, of Ventura, California, is presumed dead, the fourth victim of the crash of two pleasure boats over Labor Day Weekend.

The bodies of Christine Lewis, Brian Grabowski and Kirra Drury have been recovered. Lewis, 51, of Visalia, California, was found Sept. 3 near the crash site. Drury, 24, of Ventura, was found Sept. 4, also near the crash site. Grabowski, 51, of Tulare, California, was found Sept. 4 about 18 miles downriver, north of Lake Havasu.

After a week centering search efforts around the crash site in the area of Topock Marsh and Pirate’s Cove, the sheriff’s office moved its command center to the Lake Havasu City Water Safety Center. Other assisting agencies, including dive teams from Los Angeles and San Bernardino County, were scaled back and eventually dismissed from local search efforts.

A total of 16 people were on the two boats that collided around 8 p.m. on Sept. 1. All were thrown into the water; none reportedly were wearing life jackets. In addition to the four missing, nine others were injured, two critically.

Mortensen said the investigation into the crash, like the search itself, is continuing. No details of that investigation have been made public.

“The investigation into the crash is ongoing and does not have an estimated time of being completed,” Mortensen said. “Boat collisions are a complex investigation, especially one of this magnitude. Information will be released upon completion.”

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