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Water rescue teams search for teen near Edinburgh dam


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EDINBURGH — A search for a 17-year-old male who is missing in the Big Blue River near the dam after a swimming mishap has switched to recovery mode, according to rescuers at the scene.

Five teenagers, four males and one female, from the Franklin area, were swimming upstream from the dam at about 12:15 p.m. today when the female swimmer went over the dam, said Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Lt. Bill Browne. The female was trapped in the "boil line" where the water circles in a boiling motion near the dam, Browne said.

All have been identified as Franklin High School students, according to rescuers at the scene. A prayer vigil has been set for 7:30 p.m. today at the high school football field.

The four males attempted to rescue the young woman, and one of the male rescuers and the female teen were found face down in the water near the boil line, Browne said.

Both were rescued and CPR was administered, Browne said. Both were transported to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin and have since been airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital where they are listed in "grave condition."

Two of the other males made it out of the water on their own, but a 17-year-old male did not resurface and is still missing, Browne said.

Two of the teens were 16, two were 17 and one was 18 years old, Browne said.

The male and female who were face down in the water on different sides of the Big Blue River in Edinburgh were rescued by Bob Jessie, owner of Bob's Bait and Tackle on Eisenhower Drive, next to the dam —  and Christopher Lloyd, who lives in a nearby apartment complex.

Lloyd said he was driving by and saw Jessie's wife waving for help. Bob Jessie had just pulled the female out of the water on the north side of the bridge and said there were two more teenagers in the water. Lloyd went to the other side of the bridge and saw a young man further downstream, screaming for help as he was trying to hang on to his friend as the current was sweeping them down river. He helped pull them out and they started CPR on one of the teens rescued by Lloyd. Paramedics then arrived and took over, Lloyd said.

Franklin Fire Department's water rescue team, divers from the Johnson County Sheriff's Office and Bartholomew County Sheriff Department Water Rescue Team members were looking for the 17-year-old with boats. Helicopters were also being used in the search. Bartholomew County has about nine sheriff department water rescue team members participating in the search, using two boats.

For more on this story, see Saturday's Republic.

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