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Body of Billings man recovered from Boulder River

Body of Billings man recovered from Boulder River

Natural Bridge Falls Picnic Area south of Big Timber.

The Boulder River pours from the rock at Natural Bridge Falls Picnic Area south of Big Timber.

The Body of Joseph James Crawford, a 48-year-old Billings man who died after falling into the Boulder River in May in the Natural Bridge Falls area, has been found.

Sweet Grass County Sheriff's officials said Wednesday they were notified Friday that a spelunker "exploring the rock overhang below the falls at Natural Bridge" had found a body, according to a sheriff's office announcement made Wednesday afternoon on social media.

Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue responded and recovered Crawford's body.

Crawford fell into the Boulder River in the Natural Bridge Falls Area on May 17 and was swept downstream and into the canyon below, the sheriff's office previously said. He had been hiking with another person in the area, which is located south of Big Timber. 

Crawford was walking off-trail before he fell an estimated 50 to 60 feet into the river.

Search efforts to find Crawford were suspended in May. Recovery efforts had been unsuccessful due to high water and terrain, the sheriff's office wrote in a social media post published Wednesday.

Crawford's death happened a day after a Sweet Grass County resident discovered the body of Billings resident Bradford Meadows near where he had been swept downstream while fishing near the Fourmile Campground in July 2019.

10 essentials for exploring safely

New Mexico's Search and Rescue team has shared some wilderness survival tips as a volunteer search continues for a treasure hunter who vanished more than three weeks ago along the rugged banks of the upper Rio Grande in New Mexico. Preparation is key, and that includes telling others where you are planning to go and when you'll return, said the team's coordinator, Richard Goldstein.

— Associated Press


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“I’m glad we didn’t do this 30 years ago because there were a lot of things different back in those days. The regulations were not as stringent, people’s mindsets were different and I think we’re doing a far far better job of it now than we probably could’ve conceived of 30 years ago and I’m very glad for that.”

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