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1 man dead, another missing in Sluice Boxes area

Great Falls man drowns in Sluice Boxes
sluice boxes state park map.jpg
Posted at 2:23 PM, May 22, 2023

(UPDATE, June 16) Dogs and a boat were brought in to Sluice Boxes State Park Friday in a renewed effort to find 62-year old Ernest Mac Murray.

The dogs were being used to search the park's trails while the boat was being used to search the creek.

The search began around 10 a.m. and as of early afternoon there was no word if Mac Murray had been found.

A Cascade County Sheriff's Office pickup truck with a trailer attached carrying a UTV was parked at the lower parking lot of the park.

At the upper parking lot, multiple Montana Fish, Wildlife, and parks pickup trucks could be seen.

(UPDATE, 2:20 pm) One person has died and another is missing after a Sunday incident in Sluice Boxes State Park.

The area is located about 12 miles south of Belt just west of U.S. Highway 89 between Armington Junction and Monarch.

According to Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter, a person called 911 at about 2:45 p.m. stating that two men went into Belt Creek to rescue a dog, and then disappeared into the water and were swept away.

Search and rescue personnel recovered the body of 21-year old Santiago Nadeau, but 62-year old Ernest Mac Murray is still missing. Both men are from Canada.

Sheriff Slaughter noted that neither man was believed to wearing a life-vest.

The search for Mac Murray continues. Sheriff Slaughter said he was wearing a gray T-shirt and beige colored shorts.

Sheriff Slaughter noted, “These streams and rivers right now are extremely dangerous. This is not a time to be anywhere near or around water. We had a lot of snow, so the rivers are very high and moving very quick."

The dog was recovered and is safe.

Agencies involved in the search include Cascade County Search & Rescue; Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; Great Falls Police Department; Cascade County Sheriff's Office; and Malmstrom Air Force Base.

We will update you as we get more information.

(1st REPORT, 12:46 pm) We received several reports of a search/rescue operation underway in the Sluice Box State Park area on Sunday evening and Monday morning.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter has scheduled a news conference on Monday afternoon (May 22, 2023) to provide information about the situation.

Sluice Boxes State Park is located about 12 miles south of Belt just west of US Highway 89, between Armington Junction and Monarch.

We will have a reporter at the news conference and will update you when we get information.


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Sluice Boxes State Park map.jpg
Sluice Boxes State Park in Cascade County