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Minnesota man disappears in Idaho; search halted

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A Minnesota man is missing in Idaho after presumably falling into a river, and authorities have called off search efforts.

The Austin Daily Herald reports 43-year-old Dean Christianson has been missing since Friday. He was in Cascade, Idaho with one other person to help a friend, Jason Koehler, drive back to Austin, Minnesota, the paper reports, and the trio was on its way to Skinny Dipper Hot Springs near Banks, Idaho.

Koehler spoke with KAAL, telling the station the three had just finished a hike Friday when Christianson went down to the edge of the Payette River, out of Koehler's line of sight, to fill up a water bottle. Koehler eventually went to look for his friend, but after looking in both directions found no trace of him.

He was reported missing shortly before 2 p.m. that afternoon.

A Boise County sheriff tells the Idaho Statesman search efforts have come up empty. The search has been put on hold, the paper reports, while investigators collect more information about Christianson. An official described the river's conditions as "running high and fast" and "extremely dangerous."

According to KTVB, Chief Deputy Dale Rogers says if Christianson did indeed fall into the fast-moving water, they would not expect a good outcome. KTVB notes investigators haven't ruled out something else happening to Christianson; but searchers did find dollar bills in the water Friday evening.

"There's really nothing I can do," Koehler tells KAAL. "I trust the search and rescue people, I trust that they did their best. But I also know the conditions of the river right now and it was twice as high as it is on average."

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