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Verbatim: Canoe capsizes in Wabash River; 2 survive

Report received Monday morning from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement

Multiple agencies responded to a call of an over turned canoe in the Wabash River on Sunday night.

A 911 call was received, just after 8:20 pm, from a person on the John T. Myers pedestrian bridge who witnessed a canoe occupied by two people overturn in the flooded Wabash River. It was reported that two canoes were observed floating downstream.

The second canoe, occupied by three people attempted to help the two people in the water until both quickly passed out of view of the caller.

An officer responding to the call observed an empty canoe pass under the US 231 Bridge. There was nobody with the boat.

Indiana Conservation Officers and members of the Tippecanoe County Dive Team launched boats from Fort Ouiatenon and began to search for the occupants.

The two men originally with the overturned boat were located by members of the Lafayette Fire Department under a bridge and assisted out of the water. The second canoe with the three occupants was able to paddle to Shamrock Park in Lafayette.

After interviewing the five people involved conservation officers determined that the men began their trip on the Tippecanoe River at Springboro. The first canoe struck an underwater obstruction near one of the bridges and overturned. The second canoe attempted to assist the two in the water but the fast current made it impossible to navigate the canoe with the two holding on. The two in the water were then able to swim toward shore.

All five were wearing life jackets.

Everyone involved was evaluated by Tippecanoe County EMS and refused medical treatment.

Indiana Conservation Officers are urging everyone to stay out of the floodwaters. Regardless of your swimming or boating ability, the unpredictable fast current and underwater obstructions are hazardous. Additionally, the cold temperatures allow for the rapid onset of hypothermia which quickly reduces a person's ability to react to the hazardous conditions.

Driving through floodwaters is equally as dangerous. The depth of the water across a roadway is unknown and roadway washout may be hidden by the water.

Involved Persons:

Brandon Skiles 18- Rossville (Overturned Canoe)

Benjamin Cox 23- West Lafayette (Overturned Canoe)

Daniel Sebald 23- Lafayette (Second Canoe)

James Ausban 19- West Lafayette (Second Canoe)

Jedidah Ausban 13- West Lafayette (Second Canoe)


Indiana Conservation Officers

Tippecanoe County Sheriff

Tippecanoe County Dive Team

West Lafayette Fire and PD

Lafayette Fire and PD

Tippecanoe County EMA

Tippecanoe County EMS

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