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WATERLOO – Authorities are scaling back their search for a man who jumped from a downtown bridge into the Cedar River on Tuesday morning.

Crews with Waterloo and Evansdale fire departments, Waterloo and Evansdale police and Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputies used boats, drones and foot patrols to comb the river after the man plunged into the water from the Fifth Street bridge before dawn Tuesday.

Waterloo fire officials said the high river and fast current make dragging impossible.

“With the river that way it is, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Battalion Chief Mike Moore with Waterloo Fire Rescue.

Moore said searchers didn’t find any signs the man exited the river on his own.

Authorities were called to the Fifth Street bridge around 5:45 a.m. Tuesday and found a man on the other side of the railing. Witnesses said he appeared lethargic and, after about 10 minutes of officials trying to talk to him, he jumped into the Cedar River.

The man’s identity hasn’t been released.

Rescue officials last saw him swimming in the middle of the river past the 11th Street bridge before they lost sight of him.

Waterloo police and sheriff’s deputies launched drones to hover over the river and the shoreline, and firefighters in Waterloo and Evansdale boarded boats to search the water.

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