NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine joined the search for a person who jumped into the Niagara River yesterday morning from the busy Grand Island Bridge. In the face of high wind, snow, and limited visibility, OAM’s Buffalo Air Unit quickly deployed an AS350 helicopter, circling over waters around Grand Island for more than one hour.
Supervisory Air Interdiction Agent Kerry Kirch, with over 7,000 hours of flight experience, piloted the helicopter during the search flight. “Flight conditions were challenging, fighting wind, poor visibility and blowing snow. We searched the water around the bridges, working with other local law enforcement agencies searching areas near the location where the person went into the water,” Agent Kirch explained.
The search for the missing person was also supported earlier by helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. Despite the extensive search, the person remains missing.
CBP’s Office of Air and Marine frequently provides air and marine support for law enforcement operations throughout Western New York State. The OAM Buffalo Air Unit is manned by experienced pilots, using sophisticated surveillance fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.