The search for two good Samaritans who jumped into a South Dakota river filled with thick sea foam near the waterfall to rescue a 6-year-old boy turned into a body-recovery mission overnight.
Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras said the boy fell into the Big Sioux River around 6:00 p.m. local time Thursday evening, but was found alive sometime later, ABC News affiliate KSFY-TV reported.
A female relative of the boy, who is not his mother, jumped in after him, Sideras said. A man who was nearby then jumped into the water after the two of them. It's still unclear how the boy managed to escape the strong current and make his way to safety.
The two people, presumed to be dead, have yet to be identified.
Crews worked against tough elements to attempt find the two adults. Thick foam, measuring as much as 6 feet in some areas, covered the river along with sheets of ice. Firefighters used blowers to try and reduce the amount of foam and a backhoe was brought in to break through the ice, KSFY reported.
"There's a lot of foam from the water that has to be dispersed and that's creating quite a problem right now," Sideras told FSFY Thursday night.
Bystanders who witnessed the accident say they tried everything to help rescue the boy and the Good Samaritans who jumped in to save him. One man was able to grab on to the unidentified man.
"We had him. There were three of us that had him and he had a kid with him, but he just slipped man, he just slipped," Napoleon Ducheneaus told KSFY.
No information was released on the condition of the boy, but first responders were seen carrying him away from the river wrapped in a blanket.
"We happen to just be walking over the bridge and we noticed somebody was down there reaching in to the foam and we looked a little bit closer and we could see they were holding on to somebody, trying to pull him out," another bystander told KSFY.
"I feel hopeless. I wish there was something I could have done."