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RICHMOND, Ind. — A drone assisted the rescue of three missing kayakers, including a woman who is eight months pregnant, Sunday morning.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, family members reported the trio missing about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Conservation Officers Matt Garringer and Cole Hollingsworth arrived at the Whitewater River about 5:30 a.m. and quickly located the kayakers by using a drone. 

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The drone is equipped with a thermal sensor that located the missing people in the dark. GPS coordinates were taken, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office helped reach the kayakers in a remote area along the river.

The kayakers left Richmond early Saturday afternoon, but they capsized sometime before dark and became stranded. They built a fire for warmth and decided to camp overnight on the riverbank, the DNR said.

According to the DNR, river levels remain elevated after last week’s rains. Paddlers are reminded of the importance of scouting their route, filing a float plan with friends or relatives and always wearing personal flotation devices.

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