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Man drowns at Red River Gorge

An 18-year-old man from Edenton, N.C., drowned Wednesday while swimming in the Red River Gorge in Menifee County.

Authorities were called at 3:18 p.m. Menifee County search-and-rescue personnel found a body in 8 to 9 feet of water, 10 to 12 feet from the bank, about 45 minutes later, said Michael Caudill, a conservation officer with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Menifee County Coroner Melody Smallwood identified the victim as Xavier Holley.

Holley was swimming with a friend who saw Holley disappear beneath the surface and tried to help him, but he tried to pull her under. The friend broke free, went to the bank and yelled for help. Two hikers heard her, and one called 911.

Holley and his swimming companion were contract workers who were staying in the area to help clear debris from the January ice storm.

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