Search continues for man who disappeared in rapids during dog rescue in St. Catharines


Published June 30, 2023 at 11:00 am

Liam Neumann, who was last seen trying to rescue his dog in Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines

First responders are still searching for a man who has not been seen since attempting to rescue his dog in the Twelve Mile Creek rapids in St. Catharines.

While police have not named the man, a social media post has identified the individual as Liam Neumann.

Niagara Police say that officers responded to reports of a man in distress in the creek in the St Paul Cres. and Newton St. area on June 25 around 8:50 pm. Police say that a man and dog entered the water and when the male exited the raft, it began to float away with the dog still on it. The man reportedly became submerged in the rapids while attempting to rescue the animal.

St. Catharines Fire Service personnel located and recovered the raft and dog.

Police say that officers conducted shoreline searches on the evening of the incident, but had to stop due to darkness and hazards in the area. Since then, the service’s marine unit has continued to conduct water-based and shoreline searches. Police say efforts have been “hampered at times” by poor weather conditions.

“The currents of 12 Mile Creek can be quite treacherous and, in some areas, negate the use of police divers,” police said in a news release.

Police say that on June 29, marine and canine unit officers searched the land near and along Twelve Mile Creek in St Catharines.

“Members of our Emergency Task Unit (ETU) were assisted by the Niagara Civilian Air Search and Rescue Agency (CASARA). ETU and Niagara CASARA conducted UAV/drone flights north and south along 12 Mile Creek,” police said.

In a Facebook post, a friend of the victim posted a link to a GoFundMe page launched to help Neumann’s family cover funeral costs in the event he is not found alive.

“Family, Friends, Volunteers and Police are still out looking for Liam. The outpouring of kindness and support means so much to those closest to Liam, we can’t even begin to thank you all,” Facebook user Amber Meyer wrote in a publicly viewable post.

“For anyone able to donate, we have set up a GoFundMe for Liam’s parents to support them during this heartbreaking time, and create a Water Safety Foundation in Liam’s memory.”

The campaign hopes to raise $15,000.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and are asking members of the public to avoid the area.

“This is also an ongoing police investigation and while we recognize there may be a desire to attend and assist in the search efforts, members of the public should avoid the area due to its land and water hazards,” police said.

“This is a tragic situation, and we empathize with the next of kin.”

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