MOAB — Searchers were at the Colorado River Thursday attempting to locate a University of Texas at El Paso student who is presumed drowned.
Waley Liang, 21, was with a group of geology students who had arrived at the Gold Bar recreation area, about 15 miles northwest of Moab, Tuesday, the Grand County Sheriff's Office reported. The area is adjacent to the Colorado River.
The students were accompanied on the trip by Jose Hurtado, Ph.D., associate professor of geological sciences and an adviser to the Geology Club. A parent of one of the students also accompanied them on the trip.
Wednesday, six group members had walked about 50 yards across the river to an island, but Liang had stayed at their camp. Around 5 p.m., he attempted to join them on the island.
"The victim slipped or fell attempting to walk across and was swept downstream," according to a Grand County Sheriff's Office release. "The group on the island tried unsuccessfully to swim to his location to rescue the victim, but could not locate him."
A group member called 911 while others walked and swam along the river in an effort to find the man. Personnel from the sheriff's office, a search and rescue team, the U.S. National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Moab Fire Department responded to aid in the search. Boats, helicopters and divers were utilized, but Liang was not found Wednesday.
Shore and river searches are expected to continue over the next several days, according to a sheriff's office press release.
Liang was a junior and in his first semester at UTEP. The other five students who were on the trip were flown back to El Paso Thursday.