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Search Called Off After Worker Falls In Mississippi River

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East St. Louis, MO (KTVI) - A worker on the Mississippi River Bridge Project is still missing and presumed dead.

He fell into the Mississippi River while operating a piece of heavy equipment on a barge.

The search was stopped around 4 p.m.  Divers said the current was just too strong to work in.  So the family of Andy Gammon, a carpenter, heads home to try to explain to his two kids what has happened.

The St. Francois County, Missouri man was on board a barge about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, operating what's called a man lift, a four wheel machine.  Officials say they're not sure what happened, but that piece of machinery plunged over the side, with Gammon still on it.

The search involved dive teams from three different departments, at least five rescue boats from both sides of the river, and even a helicopter that circled the area for several hours.  Three hours into the search rescuers still were not giving up hope.

But by late afternoon, they were calling this a recovery mission.  In search of a 35-year-old father of two, the victim in the first significant accident of the Mississippi River Bridge Project.  That pronouncement made as the family waited by.

Thursday morning contractors will attempt to do some work around the site to divert the current, allowing divers to get in, and hopefully, find Gammon's remains.