A search was to resume this morning for Jason K. Moran, 17, the Franklin Community High School student missing in the Big Blue River near the Edinburgh dam.
Water rescue teams from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, area fire departments and sheriff departments began searching at 7 a.m. Saturday with boats using sonar, said Jet Quillen, DNR spokesman.
The teams also did a grid search with rescue team members in dry suits tethered to a line, walking in the river in the shallower areas near the river bank.
A drag bar was utilized from the boats to try and locate Moran, Quillen said.
The operation shifted to a recovery mission about three hours after Moran disappeared Friday, as searchers had found no sign of him and said it was unlikely he could have survived that length of time without help.
Flooding hampers search
Searchers have eliminated an area north of the bridge near the dam, except for an area about 20 feet from the dam, which can’t be accessed because of floodwaters, Quillen said. Some areas are shallow enough to allow searchers to walk the river bottom, at about 2 to 4 feet, but other areas are 8 to 10 feet deep with the flooding in the area, he said.
Moran has been missing since about 12:15 p.m. Friday, when he and four other Franklin students were swimming in the river. One of them, Sarah McLevish, 16, was swept over the Edinburgh dam.
Moran, Michael Chadbourne, 16, Trent Crabb, 17, and Mark Nally, 18, went over the dam to try to rescue her. They were helped by passers-by after their calls for help were heard.
McLevish and Chadbourne were listed in critical condition Saturday at an Indianapolis hospital, Quillen said.
Crabb and Nally, who rescued McLevish and Chadbourne with the help of the passers-by, were not injured. Moran, Chadbourne and Nally are Franklin football players, according to school officials who met with rescuers Friday.
The area where the teens had been swimming, upstream from the dam near State Road 252 in Edinburgh, is not usually a place someone might swim in the river, nearby neighbors said.
The teens likely didn’t realize the dangerous conditions, with the river being about 5 feet higher than normal due to flooding and strong currents resulted from the high water, according to DNR Lt. Bill Browne.