Search for Missing Man Now Called Recovery Operation

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BEECH CREEK -- The search resumed Friday for an older man who went missing in Clinton County during heavy rain Thursday night.

Authorities say Claude Rupert, 86, was trying to remove some items from a shed that was near Little Sugar Run Creek near Beech Creek when the rising water came up too fast.

County officials say their search is now a recovery operation.

Rupert is described by his family as a good man who loved hunting. He lived in a home near Beech Creek borough. Officials say the area received five inches of rain in a short period of time Thursday night. It swelled nearby Sugar Run Creek, and that's when tragedy struck theĀ  Rupert family.

"He went out to get his four wheeler. He had that and the shed swung around and knocked him off, and from there he went down," said Rupert's sister-in-law, Jane Lucas.

"I want him to be OK, but it's kind of hard to keep positive," added granddaughter Brooke Krust.

The shed was swept downstream about 100 feet from its foundation. A short distance from that, debris was piled up. All day Friday, rescue crews working out of the Beech Creek Fire Department searched the area.

Officials estimate the storm caused millions of dollars in damage.

"Certainly, our prayers go out to those who have lost property, and we've heard of issues of people missing," said Beech Creek Mayor Justin Kline, "and my prayers go out with them, and hopefully, everyone comes out with this the best they can."