Updated 05/14/2012 06:07 PM
Search continues for missing teen camper
The search continues for a Washington County teen who was last seen over the weekend. Our Matt Hunter has more from Greenwich.
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GREENWICH, N.Y. -- "It's breaking them to pieces," said Robert Norris, a longtime friend of the Cale family. "I called this morning and he [Cale's father] was sobbing on the phone. You've got to expect that, that's everything to him."
More than two days after his disappearance, friends and family of Jesse Cale are still searching for answers. Friends say around midnight Saturday, the 18-year-old went looking for firewood while camping with his father and friends and hasn't been seen or heard from since.
"Roughly five minutes, it could have been longer than that, they started calling his name and they didn't get any response," Norris said.
Search and rescue crews were out early Monday morning. A New York State Forrest Rangers air boat combed the banks of the Hudson River, while a State Police helicopter provided an aerial view. After more than an hour of unsuccessful searching, both we're called off.
A short time later, a team of more than two dozen troopers, rangers and firefighters searched an area off of Route 113 that included a more than century old mill. Ropes and ladders were needed to explore a deep underground pit.
"It's certainly a risky assignment for them to do, but we needed to clear it and they did, they did a great job," said Lieutenant John Solan with the State Forest Rangers.
After nearly two hours, that search also turned up empty, making an already dire situation more urgent. As the rescue team worked, Cale's father and a friend entered an underwater tunnel with a small canoe but were also unsuccessful at locating the lost teen.
Cale, who recently went on a class trip to Florida, was due to graduate from Schuylerville High School next month.
"I got to spend a lot of time with [on the trip]," Schuylerville Junior-Senior High School principal Matt Sickles said. "He just really enjoyed himself. To be in this situation a few weeks later is really tough."
As the search now continues into the week, rescue team leaders acknowledge the mission could soon shift from search and rescue to search and recovery, but friends and family are holding out hope their efforts will lead to a safe and happy ending.
"I'm extremely saddened, worried and I wish Jesse would show up," Norris said.
"Certainly the uncertainty of the situation is difficult for all of us and the kids," Sickles said. "We're just trying to be there and help them through it as we go through it at the same time."
Solan said crews would continue to search until dusk Monday and then decide where, if anywhere, to resume their search on Tuesday.
Grief counselors were made available for Schuylerville students Monday morning. Sickles says they will continue to offer that service as long as the student body needs it.