BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Police have confirmed that they have recovered the body of Officer Craig Lehner.
Tuesday morning, as they have done for days now, crews from across the region and across the border gathered in Broderick Park to continue searching for Officer Craig Lehner.
Lehner, a nine-year veteran of the force, was taking part in a routine training exercise with the Buffalo Police Underwater Rescue Team early Friday afternoon when he disappeared.
Crews were searching for him since then, from boats, from the land, and from the air.
A prayer vigil is planned for Wednesday evening near the search scene.
Tuesday, divers went back into the water around 9:40 a.m. to feel along the walls and the river bottom for any sign of Officer Lehner or his gear.
Several boats equipped with side-sweeping sonar also spanned the river, with the search area expanding north farther than it had on previous days.
On Tuesday afternoon, Buffalo police said they believe they have found the body of Lehner.
Buffalo Police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo explained that the strong current was complicating the search. It could have moved Lehner’s remains, so crews were rechecking some areas they’ve already covered. The current was also making it difficult to use the sonar and camera equipment that’s been brought it.
A Niagara Regional Police boat that joined the search Tuesday was equipped with a high-tech sonar/camera combination that uses fins to fight the current.
The search had been difficult on those who have been taking part, both emotionally and physically.
Lt. Rinaldo says some divers who had been helping did not return to the search today, but others have rotated in. As he said, the divers know their own limits.
Buffalo Police divers worked alongside Rochester Police divers and crews from several other agencies.
On Tuesday afternoon, a police procession accompanied Officer Lehner’s body to the medical examiner’s office.
The candlelight vigil planned for Tuesday night has been cancelled. Funeral arrangements are pending.