Family remains 'hopeful' after teen swept away in river

Justin McNeil went missing in the Highwood River, near Calgary, Alta. (FACEBOOK/QMI Agency)

Justin McNeil went missing in the Highwood River, near Calgary, Alta. (FACEBOOK/QMI Agency)

Jenna McMurray, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

CALGARY -- Family and friends continue searching for a beloved young man swept away in the Highwood River.

Justin McNeil, 19, was with friends in the Nature’s Hideaway area on the river when he got caught up in the current and swept downstream Sunday evening.

Justin’s adopted mom Cathy McNeil is flying to Calgary from Nova Scotia Wednesday to help with the search.

“We’re very hopeful — this is a strong young man,” she said.

“If there’s anyone who had a fighting chance, it’s him.”

Justin’s birth mom, Sheila MacLean, has been helping with the search efforts.

“We’ve got quads, we’ve got boats,” said MacLean Tuesday afternoon, adding there were about 25 people currently out looking and more were coming, plus a helicopter Wednesday.

She said family and friends have moved past the initial shock and are determined to find Justin.

“It’s ‘Hey, let’s go, let’s do this,’” she said.

Some of the searchers planned to camp out in the area so they could resume looking again bright and early Wednesday.


Videos

Photos