Police diver missing in swollen Seine River during exercise

French authorities are still searching for a policewoman who suddenly disappeared in the rising waters of Seine River during a diving exercise near Notre Dame Cathedral early on Friday.

Her colleagues say that around 11.30 am, she took a plunge into the water which was rising steadily following days of downpour and bursting of banks. When she did not surface after a minute or so, they raise an alarm drawing around 100 firefighters, tracker dogs, 17 divers, 20 boats and two helicopters to the riverside to start a huge search operation.

Sirens descended on Pont Neu, roads were closed and part of the area near Notre Dame cordoned off. Tensed crowds gathered on bridges and the riverside as policemen moved with tracker dogs on the banks, boats raced up and down the river (pictured : courtesy Jo Shumacher) , divers desperately searched for their colleague under the fast-flowing water and an infra-red search balloon was floated above the water.

The search was called off for the day around 5.30 pm and it resumed  at 8.30 am on Saturday.

According to police, the diving exercise was jointly conducted by officers of Paris river brigade and fire department.

In the meantime, 11 departments were on orange alert on Saturday as Storm Eleanor continued to wreak havoc. The storm has caused five deaths across France over the past few days, reported BFMTV.