Public Safety

Female rescued, male still missing from overturned kayak in Indian Creek

A Johnson County Dive Team boat returns to shore along Rosedale Road SE in Cedar Rapids as crews suspend search operations for a missing kayaker on Indian Creek as night falls on Monday, September 3, 2018. Police and fire were dispatch at 4:28pm to a report of two kayakers overturned in the rain swollen waters of Indian Creek. A female kayaker was rescued by Cedar Rapids Fire Department at 5:04pm and searched unsuccessfully for her male companion using boats and drones. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
A Johnson County Dive Team boat returns to shore along Rosedale Road SE in Cedar Rapids as crews suspend search operations for a missing kayaker on Indian Creek as night falls on Monday, September 3, 2018. Police and fire were dispatch at 4:28pm to a report of two kayakers overturned in the rain swollen waters of Indian Creek. A female kayaker was rescued by Cedar Rapids Fire Department at 5:04pm and searched unsuccessfully for her male companion using boats and drones. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — As night fell Monday, first responders called off a search for a man whose kayak overturned in Indian Creek, after the rescue of his companion earlier in the evening.

Members of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department and the Johnson County Metro Dive Team searched the swiftly moving water for about three hours, sending in boats at a bridge over the creek on Rosedale Road SE, about 3/4 miles downstream from where the kayak overturned, and deploying drones to search along the banks.

Firefighters rescued a woman who was also in the kayak and transported her to Mercy Medical Center. Greg Buelow, public safety communications director for the City of Cedar Rapids, said the names of the victims, who are believed to be related and in their 30s, were not yet being released. He said the woman’s injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

Buelow said the kayak overturned around 4:15 p.m. after hitting logs in the water. The woman was able to climb on top of the logs, while the man went under the water. Witnesses heard the woman calling for help, and first responders were dispatched to the 1800 block of Timber Wolf Trail SE at 4:28 p.m.

As the water increased in swiftness and intensity, Buelow said, Cedar Rapids firefighters, tethered to the shore, went into the water to rescue the woman, who had to jump to them.

They rescued her at 5:04 p.m. and then found the kayak about 1 1/2 miles downstream from where the boat overturned.

Buelow said the search would resume at sunrise Tuesday. However, “This is now a recovery operation,” he said. “Unfortunately, the situation looks very bleak.”

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The creek, swollen from recent heavy rains, had a fast-moving current and was dangerous and difficult for first responders to navigate.

“There is lots of debris, which is especially treacherous and can cause damage to the motors of the boats,” Buelow said.

The victims were not wearing life vests. Buelow urged the public to wear appropriate safety gear when boating, but also to stay off waterways in general until the current spate of severe weather passes and currents and water levels return to calmer levels.

“We don’t want people on the waterways right now,” he said. “It’s particularly dangerous, even if you’re experienced.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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