PLYMOUTH — The body of a missing fisherman whose disappearance sparked a fervent effort by divers and rescue teams was discovered Thursday, several hours after crews ended a three-day search of the Susquehanna River.
Luzerne County Chief Deputy Coroner Daniel Hughes said he pronounced Richard Bevan dead at 6:40 p.m. after he was dispatched to Plymouth near the Carey Avenue Bridge.
Hughes said the body was discovered by a fisherman who saw something in the water and called 911. He said the death does not appear suspicious, and no autopsy is planned unless toxicology tests warrant it.
A final sweep of the river began at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, following an extensive search that began after Bevan was reported missing late Tuesday and that lasted throughout the day Wednesday, Wilkes-Barre City Deputy Fire Chief Alan Klapat said. He made the comment at Nesbitt Park as a city water rescue crew scoured downstream near the Market Street Bridge, not far from where the 54-year-old’s empty boat was found.
The crew returned ashore at about 10:30 a.m. after searching downstream to Hanover Township, Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney said Thursday afternoon.
Bevan’s family was notified shortly after that crews had exhausted their resources, Delaney said.
“This was a full-court press to try to do a rescue and later to do a recovery,” the chief said. “All of the players and decisions-makers were assembled (Wednesday night) and everyone agreed we … did the very best we could to find him, but we were unable to.”
Bevan’s daughter, Ashley, reported in a Facebook post Wednesday that her father never returned to their Plains Township home from fishing on the river the day before. His keys and cell phone were found in his boat, an aluminum Sea Nymph with a Mercury outboard motor, officials said.
Divers were in and out of the murky waters Wednesday while rescue crews in boats traversed a roughly half-mile stretch of the river. Additional departments and resources were brought in, including a State Police helicopter and the Ledgedale Fire Co. Scuba Team from Wayne County.
Delaney said crews largely made up of volunteers worked tirelessly the past three days. He said communities south of Wilkes-Barre and into Columbia County were told to be vigilant, and that any boaters on the river had been asked to “keep an eye out” and call 911 if they had any information on Bevan.