TAOS — Authorities are assessing how to safely recover a body below the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge after ice in the river blocked a recovery crew from reaching the unidentified remains Friday.

The team was forced to call off its mission after hiking into the steep canyon in a snowstorm.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told The Taos News the body may be that of an Alamosa, Colo., man who was reported missing this month.

U.S. 64 West, which crosses the 600-foot-high bridge, was closed during the recovery effort, which included medical and fire teams from Taos County and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Several recovery missions were completed last year for people who had jumped to their deaths from the bridge, which continues to retain its reputation as a regional suicide destination. While the bridge has crisis phone lines stationed along its railings, it currently has no other form of suicide deterrent, such as safety netting or raised railings.

Hogrefe said the body was first spotted below the bridge on Wednesday, but an earlier plan to recover it had to be abandoned once the crew learned that an 80-foot section of the steep trail typically used to reach bodies had washed out.

A version of this story first appeared on the website of The Taos News, a sister paper to The New Mexican.

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