FARMINGTON – A 25-year-old East Hartford man is missing after a group of people tubing on the rain-swollen Farmington River hit rapids and were thrown from their tubes Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The search for the man, identified by police as Nasir Alam, was suspended Tuesday night because of rough, murky conditions on the river.
Six other people were pulled from the water, according to police chief Paul Melanson.
At about 7:30 p.m., the search was “scaled way back,” police Lt. Colin Ryan said. Police will check some spots and culverts overnight, but the full search for Alam will resume in the morning, Ryan said.
This is the third water major water search in the state in the past week. A New Milford man disappeared in Lake Lillinonah in New Milford on June 11, and a woman was reported missing Saturday morning in New Hartford, also on the Farmington River.
In Tuesday’s incident, seven people, all in their early 20s, started tubing in the afternoon near the Burlington town line, and got into trouble about a quarter mile north of the Route 4 bridge west of Unionville, Melanson said.
A bystander called police at 3:54 p.m. saying that several people had fallen off their tubes in the river, abd were yelling for help, Ryan said.
Six of them were pulled from the water near Farmington Avenue at Huckleberry Hill Road. They suffered minor bumps and scrapes and all refused medical treatment, Ryan said. It didn’t appear that they were wearing life jackets, Ryan said.
Ryan said Alam was last seen in the river in the vicinity of the Farmington-Avon town line.
Police received the emergency call around 4 p.m. The river was swollen and moving rapidly because of heavy rain in the area, and the location where the man disappeared is considered a very rough stretch of the river, Ryan said.
The recent storms and roughness of the river reduced visibility in the water to about zero, and the water was too rough to put search boats in the river, Ryan said.
The town issued an email alert Tuesday evening that said the man was last seen near River Road and was wearing blue shorts.
Avon police and fire officials are assisting with the search.
In the Lake Lillinonah case, a body was discovered Tuesday morning in Bridgewater, across the lake from the New Milford state park where the search for New Milford photographer Eric Langlois began. The body has not yet been positively identified.
In the other Farmington River case, searchers have been unable to find any sign of 33-year-old Rachel Greene, who was tossed into the river when the raft she was on hit a rock in the early hours of Saturday.
DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said heavy rain has created high water and strong currents that can make lakes and rivers more dangerous. He said people should be cautious and use good judgment in and near bodies of water, he said.
By Kelly Glista, Hartford Courant. Courant staff writer Nick Rondinone contributed to this story.