Paris police officer missing in Seine river | News | DW | 05.01.2018
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Paris police officer missing in Seine river

A French policewoman has gone missing in the Seine river in the heart of Paris following a diving exercise. Adverse weather conditions have hampered the search.

A French policewoman went missing on Friday morning during a diving exercise in the Seine river, after last being seen in the waters around Paris' Notre Dame cathedral.

French authorities deployed over 100 firefighters, 17 divers, 20 boats and two helicopters to search for the missing officer, but were forced to abandon their search at by 5:30 p.m. local time (1630 UTC/GMT) as night began to fall.

Read more: The Seine river banks in Paris now car free

The search was set to resume at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

'Suddenly disappeared'

According to Paris' police prefecture, officers with the city's river brigade and fire department had been taking part in a supervised diving exercise on Friday morning.

"At about 10:50 this morning, during a training course for river brigade divers, one of the personnel involved surfaced and then suddenly disappeared in the Seine," said Philippe Caron, director of technical services for Paris' police prefecture.

Authorities said they were still unsure how the officer could have disappeared.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb wrote on Twitter that officials were doing all they could to find the woman. "Faced with this ordeal, her family and police colleagues have my full support," Collomb added.

Torrid weather conditions

The area around the Notre Dame cathedral remained cordoned off on Friday night and all bridges leading to Ile de la Cite, where the cathedral is located, were shut to pedestrians and traffic.

Heavy rainfall in recent days had prompted the Seine's river level rise markedly. The city's river brigade had already been placed on high alert. Many areas of western Europe were battered this week by Storm Eleanor, whose gale-force winds claimed several lives, and caused considerable property damage and air traffic chaos.

Elsewhere on Friday, a fireman in the French Alpine town of Savoie was found dead after he was swept away by an overflowing river torrent.

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