Search underway for Buffalo Trace night watchman thought to have fallen into Kentucky River

A man is thought to have fallen into the Kentucky River while fishing overnight in Franklin County.

Multiple agencies, including the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin County Fire Department, were called to the section of the Kentucky River that runs behind Buffalo Trace Distillery at about 3 a.m. Friday to begin searching for the man, Sheriff Pat Melton said. Officials used cadaver dogs to help in the search.

The man, who is an an employee of United American Securities Company, guards the distillery at night, Melton said, and his vehicle and flashlight were found near the river. He is known to fish from that area of riverbank at night when he is off duty.

The 26-year-old was off work when he went missing, Melton said at a news conference Friday afternoon. At some point Thursday night into early Friday morning, family members were unable to contact him and went to check on him.

“He likes to night fish,” Melton said. “He has a spot that he normally goes to, that’s how the family knew where his car was.”

Family members reported the man missing about 2:45 a.m. when they could not find him in the area near his car.

The sheriff’s office found markings that indicate someone slid down about a five-foot embankment into the river, Melton said. At this point they can not confirm that the missing man made the marks, Melton said Friday afternoon.

In addition to the search at the river, deputies have spoken with friends and family of the missing man to find out if there’s anywhere else he could be, Melton said.

“Deputies have been very busy throughout the morning hours here on scene and in some other areas,” Melton said.

Early Friday morning, Lexington Police flew over the area in a helicopter using thermal imaging to help in the search, according to Melton, and Lexington firefighters arrived at the river Friday afternoon with a boat to assist.

Franklin County Emergency Management, Frankfort Fire Department, Franklin County Fire Department and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife were also searching at the Kentucky River.

At this point nothing suggests foul play.

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