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Police seeking missing male from overturned kayak

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An emergency crew searches for a missing kayaker Sunday, April 6, 2014, at Mill Race Park.
An emergency crew searches for a missing kayaker Sunday, April 6, 2014, at Mill Race Park.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Local and state police are searching for a male after a kayak capsized in the Flatrock River.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 call about 11:25 a.m. today saying that two kayaks each carrying one person had capsized. Columbus police officers were called to the People Trail section that goes under Eighth Street bridge on Indianapolis Road, behind Mill Race Center, said Maj. Todd Noblitt of the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department.

One of the two kayakers, Alex Cruz, 27, of Columbus, made it safely to the bank. The missing man is Enrique Quinonez, 27, of Kalamazoo, Mich., said Jet Quillen, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Both men put their canoes into the water by Liggett Road, a little north of the search site, Quillen said. They went under the bridge and made it a few feet downstream before Quinonez's kayak capsized, Quillen said. Cruz jumped out of his kayak and grabbed his friend by the hood of his coat and they both got ahold of a tree. However, Quinonez lost his grip and disappeared under the water, Quillen said.

The Columbus man pulled himself to shore, yelled for help, climbed to the bank and a passerby called 911, Quillen said.

The search has included the county's Swift Water Rescue Team, about six boats and a helicopter, but the helicopter is grounded now. Emergency personnel are in a search and recovery mode now, Quillen said.

Maj. Todd Noblitt of the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department said the current in the river is strong. Neither person in the kayak was wearing a life jacket. The Michigan man was described as a non-swimmer, Quillen said.

Readings taken by the Department of Natural Resources indicate that the depth of the river at the area being searched - just north of the intersection with the Driftwood River to form the East Fork White River - is more than 12 feet deep, Quillen said.

People are advised to stay away from the area.

Please read Monday's edition of The Republic for more details.

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