Family waits as search for missing swimmer continues

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NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – What began as a rescue effort is now a recovery mission for a suspected drowning victim in the Kentucky River in Jessamine County, according to the county fire department.

The search for a missing Hispanic man resumed Friday morning at about 8, according to the fire and rescue service.

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According to fire officials, his family is on the scene hoping for some kind of closure.

Firefighters say a group of people told them a man, who is described as a good swimmer, dove into the river from the concrete platforms near Lock 7 around 6 p.m. on Thursday to go swimming.

Rescuers were told by witnesses the man made it over the lock and did get “kicked out of” the spillway and was trying to swim out when he went under and wasn’t seen again, Jessamine County Fire Chief Michael Rupard said.

Thursday night’s search ended with nightfall because of hazardous water conditions.

Thursday night, firefighters said the river was higher than normal at about 17 feet with a strong undercurrent, which can make swimming difficult, if not dangerous.

The level was down about two feet by mid-morning Friday, aiding the search, according to Rupard.

At least four boats are on the river and crews also are searching river banks, according to the chief.

Crews hope to launch a boat with a sonar to aid in the search, the chief said.

Fayette County and the Wilmore Fire Department are sending boats as well.

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.