Missing Ark City swimmer found in debris south of Oklahoma stateline

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Photo courtesy of THOMAS CARVER/COURIERTRAVELER Photo courtesy of THOMAS CARVER/COURIERTRAVELER
KAY COUNTY, Okla (KAKE) -

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says it has found the body of 57-year-old Gary Reece of Arkansas City just south of the stateline.  

Troopers found him tangled in debris under four feet of water just three tenths of a mile from where he disappeared on Thursday.

Authorities say Reece was swimming in the Arkansas River with three friends on Thursday when he went under.  His friends got out of the water safely.

Emergency crews were called at around 11:30 p.m. Thursday to rural Cowley County near the Oklahoma state line. Chief Bobby Wolfe with the Arkansas City Fire Department told KSOK on Friday a that three young adults were treated for exhaustion after they swam to safety, but Reece was still missing. 

Rescuers brought a boat to the scene and searched the river until 4:30 a.m. A Kansas Highway Patrol aircraft on Friday flew over the river to Kaw Lake in Oklahoma, but could not find the man.  The Oklahoma Highway Patrol in Kay County then took over the search.

Troopers were able to recover Reece's body Saturday.  They have notified his next of kin.