The Androscoggin River which separates Auburn (left) and Lewiston (right). Credit: BDN

AUBURN, Maine — Rescue workers suspended their search on Wednesday for a missing 5-year-old boy who fell into the Androscoggin River Tuesday night, after having earlier in the day declared the search a “recovery mission,” according to a local media report.

Auburn Deputy Police Chief Jason Moen told the Lewiston Sun Journal that the search along the banks of the river has ended, and that when the search resumes Thursday, it will be conducted by dive teams.

On Wednesday, teams searched the shoreline and the river along a two-mile stretch of the Androscoggin between Bonney Park and Durham until roughly 5 p.m, Moen said. Aircraft search operations were suspended mid-day Wednesday because of weather conditions, the Auburn Police Department said in a statement.

High water levels and swift currents hampered the river search, Moen said during an 11 a.m. press conference. “Divers are having a hard time right now because of the fast-moving water we experience every spring,” he said.

The missing boy fell into the Androscoggin River along with his 9-year-old brother, who was rescued Tuesday night and taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he remains in critical condition, Auburn Fire Capt. Chip Keene told the Bangor Daily News Wednesday morning.

Keene said both boys recently moved to Main Street in the city. The boys have not been identified.

Moen told the Sun Journal on Tuesday night the brothers were playing by the river when one of them fell in. His brother fell in when he tried to rescue him. It wasn’t clear which child fell in first.

Moen told the Journal that the boys’ father “tried to save them and was unable to. Both boys were then lost down the river.” The boys’ 8-year-old sister also went into the river in an attempt to rescue her brothers, according to the Sun Journal. The father and sister were not injured.

The search for the 5-year-old was suspended at 10 p.m. Tuesday before resuming Wednesday morning.

The Auburn Fire Department, the Lewiston fire and police departments, the Maine Warden Service, and LifeFlight assisted Auburn police in the search.

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Callie Ferguson

Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.