The search for a man last seen in the Kalamazoo River is now being called a 'recovery effort'. Allegan County emergency responders spent Friday searching for a 34-year-old man believed to have gone in the water in the Plainwell area.

Sgt Todd Wagner with the Allegan County Sheriff's Office says crews began the search just after 8:30 p.m. Thursday after someone spotted a man in the water. Responders did see the man twice, but were unable to reach him.

Authorities believe that man is 34-year-old Michael Baird.

" We did receive a report of a missing person from the Plainwell area matching the description of the individual we were looking for and at this point that individual is believed to be one in the same and is presumed drowned," Sgt. Wagner, said.

"We don't know the circumstances of how he ended up in the water, the family says he normally would take a walk down in Plainwell by the park and liked to watch the river. The family presumes he may have leaned over to look at the river and slipped and fell but that is just an assumption. There's nothing to indicate he was under the influence of alcohol or anything or recreational narcotics."

The searched continued Friday with crews fighting cold temperatures on land and in water

"Things that are going against us, obviously Mother Nature, high waters, now the river is moving 8-12 mph which is extremely strong," Wagner said. "Less than 2 mph can knock a person off their feet so that gives you somewhat of an idea of what's taking place."

Challenges they hope they can overcome, as police work to give a family closure.

"Not knowing is really the thing that kills people and we try to provide them that support in any shape possible."

Search crews planned to remain searching until sunset on Friday evening. They say if they don't find the body on Friday they will have to consider what other options they have.

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