OGDEN — Somber friends and family of presumed 4-year-old drowning victim Corbin Anderson anxiously scoured the brush-covered banks of the Weber River on Tuesday in an unsuccessful effort to locate the boy’s body.
Corbin was swept away after he fell from a large rock into the swift-flowing river late Saturday afternoon during a family photo shoot near the Ogden Kayak Park off Exchange Road and 24th Street.
In addition to Corbin, others present when the accident occurred were his parents, Bryan and Melanie Anderson, and his 8-year-old brother Carter, all of Layton, relatives said.
Law enforcement personnel have searched the river between the Kayak Park and 17th Street over the last four days.
About 100 people searched on Sunday, and about 60 people, including several divers, searched on Monday.
The search was scaled back Tuesday to about 15 personnel, primarily from the Ogden Police Department and Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
Searchers walked along the river’s banks, floated in kayaks and scoured the brush with K-9 rescue dogs, said Police Lt. Danielle Croyle.
Law enforcement will continue regular, routine searches for Corbin, but it hasn’t been determined how many personnel will participate each day, said Weber County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Lowther.
“We want to find this little boy and bring him home.”
Official search personnel were augmented Tuesday by friends and relatives of the Andersons, some of whom used metal poles to poke through vegetation and into the water at the river’s edge.
Among those who searched was Corbin’s grandfather, Scott Anderson, of Layton.
He said Melanie Anderson phoned him immediately after calling 911 to report that Corbin had fallen into the river.
“I rushed over,” he said Tuesday while on a path at the Kayak Park.
Corbin’s dad and several other people had jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue the boy, who floated through two tide pools.
“He’s a small kid and may have gone down (farther along the river) because he’s a lot lighter-weight,” Scott Anderson said.
He described his grandson as a typical boy who loved fishing and the water.
“He was just always happy. He didn’t have any fear.”
Larry and Esther Hardman, friends of the Andersons who helped in Tuesday’s search, said the family is having difficulty dealing with the accident.
“It’s horrible for them,” Larry Hardman said.
Joe Jennings, who works for Great Basin Search and Rescue, a nonprofit organization based in Ogden, brought Gunny, a golden retriever that is certified in water rescue. They searched along the river from the Kayak Park to Marriott-Slaterville.
They were joined by another handler and dog from the organization.
“We are not having much success,” Jennings said after the search. “The dogs aren’t showing any signs that they are hitting on a scent.”
Gunny is specially trained and will sit and bark after detecting the scent of a body on land or in water.
“They will go down, get into the water and look for scent there. They’ll come up and test the wind,” Jennings said.
Great Basin Search and Rescue provides dogs at no cost at the request of law enforcement agencies and has assisted with cases in Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada.
“We spend a lot of time finding the places where the people are not,” Jennings said.
“It’s a lot of hard work, and you don’t always get a reward in the end.”