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Search crews pull body from river; victim's name released

VALLEY CITY – Crews looking for a missing Valley City State University student found his body in the Sheyenne River this morning, Valley City Police Chief Fred Thompson said.

The body was recovered about 10 a.m., Mayor Bob Werkhoven said. “It puts some closure on the tragic situation for the family and the city of Valley City,” Werkhoven said.

Dan Buehner of Blaine, Minn., went missing about 1 a.m. Monday after a rubber raft carrying him and two others went over a small dam and capsized. The missing student was last seen in the tailwater of what’s known as the Little Dam. Authorities believe he drowned.

"It is with a heavy heart and great sadness to inform you that authorities this morning discovered the body of VCSU student Dan Buehner in the Sheyenne River. Dan was a senior majoring in business administration and played catcher on the VCSU baseball team," VCSU President Steven Shirley said in a statement. "Please keep Dan's family in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead during this incredibly difficult time."

Buehner graduated from Centennial High School in Blaine, Shirley said.

The two other men were helped to shore by emergency workers and nearby residents. The names of the other two rafters have not been released.

To help the search, the river level was lowered by reducing the water flow at the Baldhill Dam upstream. Searchers were able to walk the riverbed Monday, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, until they found the body downstream near the Eighth Avenue Bridge, Thompson said, adding that the body will be taken to Grand Forks for an autopsy.

Why the three men were rafting in the middle of the night was not clear.

They got into the raft near the footbridge by West Main Street and floated downstream on the fast-moving river about a half mile to the Little Dam, where they ended up in tailwater that was at least 12 feet deep, Thompson said. The air temperature at the time was in the 40s, according to the weather service.

Thompson said the three were not fishing and that no paddles or lifejackets were found after the raft capsized.

Valley City State has cancelled its games today against the University of Winnipeg and Wednesday against University of Jamestown.

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