Search Continues for Man Who Disappeared in Des Moines River

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The Wapello County Sheriff's Department and the Ottumwa Fire Department both resumed searching for Michael Chrisman at about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. Chrisman disappeared in the Des Moines River Monday night. Officials say the search will continue on Wednesday. (Matt Milner/The Courier)

The Wapello County Sheriff’s Department and the Ottumwa Fire Department both resumed searching for Michael Chrisman at about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. Chrisman disappeared in the Des Moines River Monday night. Officials say the search will continue on Wednesday. (Matt Milner/The Courier)

WAPELLO COUNTY, Iowa — Officials are continuing their search for a man who went into the Des Moines River in Wapello County Monday night and didn’t resurface.

The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office says Michael Chrisman, 25, was with friends at the Cliffland Park River Access at about 7:40 p.m. when the incident happened. Chrisman and his friends had been jumping into the river from a rope tied to a tree.

The Ottumwa Courier reports that at least ten boats participated in the search on Tuesday. Firefighters will resume the search on Wednesday.


  • BrutallyHonest

    Dont get me wrong, i am on the river fishing alot, but when are people going to learn that it is not a safe place to swim when the river is at the levels it is at. Althought this is not a good situatoin, i have a hard time continuing to feel sorry for these people!

    • Mother and Mother-in-Law

      Here is the deal for all of the “naysayers” commentary. DO NOT POST IT. First, my daughter and family do not need your input. Second; iif this was your loved one out having fun and ended up lost in the river, would you want to hear that kind of commentary or would you want support? For you that are so judgmental, I can only pray that when you face a crisis in life this severe that the Lord is more merciful to you than you deserve.

  • Jess

    The saddest part to me, Brutal, is that our rescue personnel are expected to put their lives in danger because someone wanted a thrill. I feel for the family of this man, but, I would feel even worse for the family of a fireman or police officer if they had lost their life trying to save this man.

  • Ben Dover

    i think you mean the “iowa” river, not the “des moines” river…..article appears to be inaccurate…

    • Abbey W

      I’m from Ottumwa and the Des Moines river goes straight through the middle of town. This article is correct.

      • Jenn

        Yep, I’m from Agency, Abbey is right. And the Cliffland area, at least where I have been, is a really bad place to swim.

  • Heidi

    Wow people have a heart mike has family and a wife and young child. You people shouldn’t be so hateful. Wow thank god its not but imagine if your family member was having fun and this happened you wouldn’t like if someone said rude stufg. God bless mikes family friends and all that are searching and praying.

    • Sue

      I don’t think anyone means to be cruel, Heidi. Of course it is awful for all of his friends and family that he is gone. HE should have given a little thought to them though before he did what he did. The Corp of Engineers is warning to stay out of the river right now because the water is moving at 20 MPH and the river is full of dangerous debris. He should not have been swimming there at all and if he was going to, he should have had a life jacket on. Had he not chosen to throw caution to the wind, he would be there to kiss his wife and son good night tonight.

      • BrutallyHonest

        And not be putting the rescue workers lives in danger trying to find him after doing something so careless and selfish. He wasnt thinking of his wife and kids when he was jumping into a flooded river. Those rescue workers have spouses and kids as well, but they are putting their lives in danger because someone else was careless.

      • Vic

        I believe all rescue personel Firefighters, Law Enforcement, Divers, Etc., are well aware of the dangers that can & may arrise when called upon for help and they chose to go into this field. Mike is 25yrs old, married, has a son & works a full time job, and wanted to go to their river lot 2 jump off a rope swing a couple of times to cool down before heading home for the eve, (Not because he wanted a thrill Jess). I’d feel sorry for anyone, anywhere that is going thru a situation like this & think Brutallyhonest remarks was blantant & presumptious. The river is NOT flooded, its just higher since the past 2 days rains. Sue, I dont think Mike checked 2 see how fast the water was moving. Im 50yrs old & I dont check with The Corp of Engineers each time, but I wouldnt call this “Throwing caution 2 the wind” either & in all my time (back several yrs ago) jumping off ropes in 4 rivers, family & friends farm ponds, not once did any of us wear life jackets. There was more ppl than Mike that jumped off that rope swing yesterday in the same spot, and they resurfaced. Its a sad deal altogether, and Mike is nice & has nothing but good in him for his wife, son, family, friends & everyone he meets. Definately not a selfish guy. (Thank you Heidi 4 your support & prayers) the family appreciates it.

  • Sister-in-Law

    I think we all know it was a reckless thing to do, but tell me this have you ever done anything foolish and reckless? The answer… of course you have, everyone has, you were just lucky enough to not suffer the consequences of your decision. Have a heart, don’t judge others without judging yourself first. You should be ashamed of yourself. We need all the help and support we can get. If you are able we need more people walking along the banks, and if possible more boats in the water. If these things are not possible please pray and pass on the message so we can find more help. If you have questions regarding the search contact Michael’s family on facebook.

  • mike52501

    Come on people he was having fun im an ems and firefighter ive done stupid stuff but this is someones kid husband brother daddy show respect. Those ems and firefighters know what they put on the line and do it willing so your saying they throw caution to the wind? Just saying watch what you say words hurt.

    • Jess

      Well, Mike52501, you are definitely a better person than I am. Blessings to you for being willing to put your life on the line for others. You are a very good person.
      i’m sure this gentleman (I believe his name is also Mike) is also a good person. You are right, it is easy to sit and read these articles and judge harshly. I think though, that people think maybe he made a very bad decision. There have been so many water accidents in the last couple of weeks due to the high water and all of the debris in the water. Staying out of the water for a few weeks seems like a good idea.
      I apologize for any undue pain and anguish my comments may have caused his family or friends.
      I pray that others will think about this gentleman though before they jump into a fast moving, debris loaded river.

  • James

    Rivers are not smart places to swim. Even calm-looking water can have strong undercurrents. If you want to swim outdoors swim in a lake or pond, which still isn’t completely safe because they can have undercurrents too. Parents need to educate children that rivers are not safe places to swim, especially when they have been so high lately. There’s been about four river drownings in the last week between the Skunk and Des Moines rivers.

  • Holly

    I pray for this family and you people being negative is not good for them if you don’t want to be positive about things don’t comment. This man has a wife and a son at home who love and miss him and need him home.! The police and firemen and whoever else is out there know the danger it is also their job to protect people. I know if this was my family or friend I want the same. I would want people to keep searching and never give up hope.! Praying for you guys.!!! Don’t give up hope.!!!

  • mary

    i always get a kick out of how people get offended over comments on the internet. everyone is entitled to their own damn opinion. if people want to post negative comments, let them. but reacting to them is exactly what they want you to do. just like bullies pick on you to get a reaction. i’m so sorry for your family’s loss, hailey, but don’t listen to the negative comments because negativity only begets negativity. and no one needs to fuel an unnecessary fire. if yall don’t appreciate negative comments, then ignore them. there’s no point to them. you can only move on through positivity. i wish you all the best.

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