Scott County authorities were searching the Minnesota River Monday, Sept. 2 after they were dispatched to a report of a boat found running near shoreline.

Search efforts resumed Tuesday morning for the missing boater whose unoccupied boat was found Monday on the River Minnesota River near Belle Plaine.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office identified the boater as Bruce Copenhaver, a 62-year-old Watertown resident.

Family members said Copenhaver left home to go fishing between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Monday, a news release from the sheriff’s office said.

Copenhaver’s boat, a 2002 Lund 17-foot open boat with a 60 hp Evinrude tiller-style motor, was found running and unoccupied near the shoreline at approximately 10:50 a.m. Monday. Mr. Copenhaver’s brown 2015 Ford F-150 truck and boat trailer were also located at the Minnesota River boat landing in Belle Plaine.

“We have multiple agencies searching the shoreline, in the water on boats with sonar technology, and also have a dive team on hand,” Sheriff Luke Hennen said. “We know Mr. Copenhaver’s family is very concerned and we are doing everything we can to locate him.”

The incident has not been deemed suspicious and the search remains active.

Scott County authorities were dispatched to the area around 10:50 a.m. Monday for a report of an unoccupied boat found running along the shoreline. The search for the possible missing boater lasted into the evening until lighting conditions made it unsafe for responders to be on the river.

According to an earlier news release from the sheriff’s office, witnesses advised they located a running, unoccupied boat near the shoreline and were unable to locate anyone in the immediate vicinity. A search began immediately with responders from multiple agencies, both on the water and shoreline.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, Sibley County Sheriff’s Office, Belle Plaine Police Department, Minnesota DNR, Minnesota State Patrol, Belle Plaine Fire Department, Jordan Fire Department, Henderson Fire Department, Carver Fire Department, Shakopee Mdewakanton Public Safety, Carver County Dive Team and Ridgeview Ambulance.


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