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2 kayakers found safe after capsizing near Bluffton

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BLUFFTON -- Two kayakers who capsized and were swept away in a fast-flowing Upper Iowa River were located safely Thursday.

A 53-year-old man and 49-year-old woman, both of Ames, were kayaking the Upper Iowa River near Bluffton at around 2:15 p.m. when the kayak capsized and the two "became separated in the swift current," according to the Winneshiek County Sheriff's Office.

The man was able to get to shore and got help from a nearby resident, according to the report, but the woman went missing.

The Decorah Fire Department arrived on scene and sent up a drone, which located the woman stranded on the bank of the river.

"She was escorted to safety and reunited with her partner," the sheriff's office said in a Friday release.

Neither was injured.

It was the first river rescue of the season in Winneshiek County, the sheriff's office said.

The Upper Iowa River at Bluffton has not been close to the 14-foot flood stage -- it was 5.5 feet at its highest Thursday -- but had risen a full foot between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service bureau in La Crosse, Wis.

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Reporter covering Waterloo, Black Hawk Co. and politics

UNI political communications/journalism grad. Alum of The Calumet (MCC), The Northern Iowan (UNI), Fergus Falls (Minn.) Daily Journal and KWWL. 4-time award-winner while at The Courier. Interested in exposing wrongdoing and holding power to account.

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