ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — Search crews in Harnett County spent all day Tuesday looking in Cape Fear River for 25-year-old Edwin Ordonez-Vasquez.
He and his 29-year-old brother, Emilson Ordonez-Vasquez were in the Cape Fear River fishing and swimming on Monday when currents swept them under.
Emilson’s body was recovered by crews on Monday evening. Crews continued Tuesday searching the area for his brother where he was last seen. Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats said a bystander tried to save the brothers but couldn’t.
“Bystander jumped in and grabbed hold of one of the brothers. The current was so strong it was pulling them all under. He just lost grip of him,” Sheriff Coats said.
The rain eventually stopped the recovery operation on Monday night. The sheriff worries the younger brother could be trapped under debris or floated downstream.
“The river is unpredictable. There is so much current underneath that you don’t see yesterday when they were out there swimming. It’s when you get down below and the rip current is under there it can grab you in a hurry,” he said.
The depth of the river is also making the search difficult. Pockets of the river can go from one to 25 feet deep. Fort Bragg sent a watercraft out to the scene to assist with recovery.
Family members stood by all day for updates while heartbroken. The sheriff said the father of the brothers had to seek medical treatment for heart issues.
“Losing two children in a day’s time—we need to keep this family in prayer. And hopefully we can find this other body and bring some kind of closure to this family,” Sheriff Coats said.