Divers Recover Body of Drowning Victim in Flathead Lake

Search and rescue teams from Missoula and Lake counties had been searching for Chad Hansen, 36, since he became separated from his boat on June 28

By Beacon Staff
Lake County Courthouse in Polson on Feb. 22, 2017. Beacon file photo.

Divers on July 3 recovered the body of a 36-year-old Missoula man missing since last Friday when he became separated from his boat near the “Narrows” of Flathead Lake, a bottleneck feature separating Polson Bay to the south from the lake’s northern reaches.

The victim, Chad Hansen, was last seen at about 9:41 p.m. on June 28 when witnesses said he became separated from his boat. In the days since, Hansen had been presumed drowned as search and rescue teams from Lake and Missoula counties probed the depths of the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. On the evening of July 3, Lake County Don Bell announced in a news release that divers had recovered Hansen’s body in 75 feet of water just north of the Narrows, the same area Hansen was reportedly last seen. The recovery occurred at roughly 5:30 p.m.

Search efforts consisted of multiple teams and a variety of technologies from around the region, Bell said. Law enforcement personnel from sheriff’s departments spanning Flathead and Missoula counties, as well as Kootenai County, Idaho, all lent personnel and equipment during the days-long effort.  

“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office wishes to extend our most sincere gratitude to Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino, Missoula County Sheriff Jeremiah Peterson, and Kootenai County, [Idaho] Sheriff Bob Norris, their respective Search and Rescue Teams, and Lake County Search and Rescue for the efforts and expertise of their teams,” Bell stated in the release.

Hansen’s body was transported to the Montana State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. 

“The Sheriff’s Office expresses our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Hansen,” Bell said.   

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