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1 of 2 kayakers rescued from White River dies

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Fishers man, one of two kayakers hospitalized following a water rescue from the White River, has died.

Crews were dispatched around 12:17 p.m. Sunday to the 7300 block of Westfield Boulevard on multiple reports of kayakers in distress on White River.

Lawrance Morrissey, 48, was a real-estate broker. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and three children, ages 14, 10 and 8. Information provided by Indianapolis Fire Department described him as loving adventure “such as warrior runs, motorcycling, kayaking, scuba diving, camping with friends and family.”

Morrissey died on Sunday.

The name of the other kayaker has not been released, but his condition has greatly improved, said a news release from Rita Reith, a spokeswoman for Indianapolis Fire Department.

When crews from Indianapolis Fire Department arrived Sunday at the river, they spotted two kayakers conscious and wearing life vests, in the middle of a boil (a dangerous area of water rushing up to the surface).

IFD had reported one of the kayakers broke free from the log they were holding in the midst of the boil line and headed downstream, where crews threw him a rope bag, which he caught. In the meantime, an off-duty firefighter moved quickly to cut open a fence, making way for a zodiac boat to launch into the river to assist in the rescue.

Crews from IFD determined Morrissey, unconscious and circling in the rushing water, was in a position too dangerous for immediate rescue without backup and attempted to first pull the other kayaker from the water. He was in the boat by 12:42 p.m.

With the first rescued man, age 54, in the rescue boat, crews saw Morrissey heading downstream. The rescue boat executed a risky move — going airborne and turning the boat 180 degrees to get ahead of Morrissey.

Crews pulled Morrissey from the river at 12:46 p.m. and began CPR. Life-saving measures performed by firefighters helped him regain a pulse, and on-scene responders continued treatment.

Both men were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital.

IFD stressed that the two men, experienced kayakers, were wearing life vests that were ripped off by the force of the water, illustrating the danger of high water and swift currents.

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