AUGUSTA — Conditions on the Kennebec River in downtown Augusta have forced authorities to suspend a search for a woman who disappeared under the river ice early Saturday afternoon.

“The Maine Warden Service and Marine Patrol will work to recover the individual from the Kennebec River once the treacherous conditions on the river subside,” Augusta police Deputy Chief Jared Mills said in a news release issued Sunday.

However, they are continuing to try to determine the woman’s identity and are asking for the public’s help.

Maine Marine Patrol Sgt. Daniel White described her as being in her 50s, with reddish-brown hair and wearing dark clothing.

Mills asked that people call Officer Paul Doody, of the Augusta police, at 626-2370 if they have information about the woman’s identity or the incident.

Gloria Labbe and Judy Bourget, two women who watched from the windows of nearby Kennebec Plaza apartment building as the missing woman go into the river, said the woman had been speaking on a cellphone and placed it on the ice before deliberately moving to a small area of open water. They said she pushed away a buoy that police had thrown to her.

Police had arrived at the scene when the woman was still on the ice after getting several calls from passers-by.

Along with a plane from Maine Marine Patrol, Maine Game Wardens with the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife used an airboat briefly in the search.

“Due to the river being completely frozen south of the Calumet Bridge, the conditions made it impossible locate the person,” according to Mills’ release.

This story will be updated.


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