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Rescue teams scale back search efforts

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Search efforts were scaled back Wednesday as the Bartholomew County Water Rescue Team and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources continued looking for a missing kayaker in the Flat Rock River.

Enrique Quinonez, 27, of Kalamazoo, Mich., has been missing since Sunday.

Quinonez and a friend, Alex Cruz, 27, Columbus, got into kayaks in the flooded Flat Rock River at about 11:20 a.m. Sunday, said Jet Quillan, a DNR spokesman.

The two men had only been on the floodwater a few minutes when Quinonez’s kayak capsized while the two were going under the Eighth Street bridge near Mill Race Park. Cruz jumped out of his kayak to pull Quinonez to a tree, and grabbed on to another tree nearby. Quinonez lost his hold, went underwater and did not resurface, Cruz told the DNR.

Cruz swam to shore yelling for help and a passer-by called 911 to alert rescuers. Neither kayaker was wearing a life vest and Quinonez could not swim, Quillen said.

Quinonez’s family members in Poland contacted the DNR Wednesday, thanking them for continuing to search.

“That sort of breaks your heart even more,” Quillen said.

Teams will continue to search on the river this week, but manpower is being scaled back while waiting for water levels to fall, said Major Todd Noblitt, chief deputy for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

A helicopter will fly over nearby farm fields that had been covered by floodwater once the water recedes, he said.

The DNR had nothing new to report Wednesday after spending the morning in a boat operating sonar, Quillen said.

“The (Flat Rock) water has come up again, which is disappointing,” he said.

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