Reports of Public Safety Incidents in the News: 2017

In order of most recent

Utah: Mother of Teen Who Drowned at Otter Creek Reservoir Sues Feds. 12/21/17, - Salt Lake City
17-year-old victim was pulled into a culvert; lawsuit filed against DOI, BLM, and USACE.

Indiana: Columbus Man Rescued From Low Head Dam This Week. 11/21/17, WTIU
35-year-old man in critical condition after his boat went over a low-head dam on the Flatrock River.

New York: Woman's body recovered from Owasco River in city of Auburn. 11/3/17,

Alabama: Memorial honors 5 who died at Cypress Creek dam. 10/13/17, Times Daily - Florence
Lawsuit resulted in the dam's modification, a memorial at the site, and inclusion of a note in utility bills warning people about the potential dangers around the dam.

Georgia: [1974 INCIDENT] High Falls church grieves loss of drowned boy. 10/11/17, Macon Telegraph
Story references 1974 drowning at dam in High Falls State Park.

Alabama: OUR VIEW: It’s past time for low-head dam to go away 10/8/17, Gadsden Times

Alabama: Deadly Big Wills Creek low-head dam to be removed. 9/26/17, Gadsden Times

New Hampshire: NH Firefighters rescue kayakers stranded near Merrimack River falls in Hooksett. 9/15/17, NH1 News
Kayakers recued from buoys above Eversource Dam; none injured.

Pennsylvania: Fisherman drowns in Snyder County. 9/14/17, WNEP-TV - Pennsylvania
71-year-old man drowned at Shamokin Dam, where another fisherman drowned in Oct. 2016.

Pennsylvania: Was Cleona kayaker's drowning preventable? 9/5/17, Lebanon Daily News
July drowning illustrates urgent need for widespead initiatives by various entities to raise public awareness of low-head dam hazards.

Pennsylvania: Rare drowning on Swatara Creek reminds that kayaking is fun, when done safely. 9/5/17, Lebanon Daily News
July drowning at low-head dam near Jonestown, PA occurred after heavy rainfall; creek normally only 1 to 3 ft deep.

Indiana: Indiana man says Illustration helped him survive fall over dam. 8/25/17, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Man caught in boil at White River dam in Indianapolis on July 9 credits graphic with saving his life; his friend did not survive.

Texas: Man drowns while swimming at Longhorn Dam. 8/23/17, KVUE News
62-year old drowns in Colorado River. [Fox 7 video:]

Alabama: Search on for toddler’s body after day at the river turns tragic. 8/19/17, Tallassee Tribune
18-month-old boy swept away after water release from Thurlow Dam.

Maryland: Swimmer dead after being airlifted from Prettyboy Reservoir. 8/19/17, Baltimore Sun
Victim suffered cardiac arrest after being pulled from currents at base of dam.

Texas: Dive teams find body matching description of teen last seen in Trinity River. 8/18/17, WFAA

Texas: Dive teams recover teen’s body in Trinity River. 8/18/17, Fort Worth Star Telegram

Pennsylvania: Kayakers Learn To Avoid Dam On Allegheny River. 8/15/17, CBS - Pittsburgh
USACE implements safety measures at local dam.

Nevada: Body of swimmer who went missing near Hoover Dam recovered. 8/8/17, KTNV 13 News
42-year-old drowned July 30; incident under investigation.

New York: Crews remove boat stuck by Baldwinsville dam safety cables. 8/6/17, CNY Central
Boater got too close to dam after mistaking dam buoys for shallow water buoys.

Illinois: Here's how to redue potentially tragic river risks. 8/5/17, Daily Journal - Kankakee
Public safety message in wake of late July drowning at Wilmington dam on Kankakee River.

Texas: Caught on video: Man jumps in Comal River to save teen from dam. 8/5/17, KSAT

Georgia: Fisherman drowns on Chattahoochee River during upstream water release. 8/4/17, Gwinnett Daily Post
Man swept away in waters released from Buford Dam.

Kansas: Fisherman drowns while using a castnet near Port of the Islands. 7/30/17, Emporia Gazette
65-year-old fisherman drowned July 29 in spillway of John Redmond Reservoir dam.

Indiana: Boaters rescued from dam. 7/29/17, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne Fire Department comes to aid of boaters caught on St. Joe River Dam.

Missouri: After tragedy near Springfield, student invents rescue launcher. 3/15/17, Springfield News-Leader
Following a tragic drowning, a Missouri S&T student designed a launchable "Last Chance" flotation device, which has 3 primary components: a stand, pneumatic launcher, and projectile.

Illinois: Wilmington Dam's Danger Focus of Lawsuit Against City of Wilmington. 8/10/17, WGLT
According to an attorney for the plaintiffs, 42 people have died at the Kankakee River dam.

Washington: Yakima River water rescue saves man stuck on dam. 8/7/17, NBC Right Now
25-year-old man swept downstream while swimming; emergency responders pulled him from the Wapato District Diversion Dam where he had been clinging to a pipe for several hours.

New York: Crews remove boat stuck by Baldwinsville dam safety cables. 8/6/17, CNY Central
Boater got too close to dam after mistaking dam buoys for shallow water buoys.

Georgia: Fisherman drowns on Chattahoochee River during upstream water release. 8/4/17, Gwinnett Daily Post
Man swept away in waters released from Buford Dam.

Florida: Fisherman drowns while using a castnet near Port of the Islands. 8/4/17, Scripps Media, Inc.
41-year-old man fell into turbulent waters at canal spillway.

Kansas: Fisherman drowns while using a castnet near Port of the Islands  7/30/17, Emporia Gazette
65-year-old fisherman drowned July 29 in spillway of John Redmond Reservoir dam.

Indiana: Boaters rescued from dam. 7/29/17, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne Fire Department comes to aid of boaters caught on St. Joe River Dam.

Illinois: Woman dies after she and girl, 6, become trapped near Wilmington dam. 7/31/17, WLS-TV Chicago
A 35-year-old woman died after her raft went over the Wilmington Dam and became trapped in the boil below; the child was rescued and released from the hospital with no injuries. Two children drowned last year at the same dam.

Illinois: Wilmington In Disbelief After Another Kankakee River Drowning At Dam. 7/31/17, WLS-TV Chicago

Indiana: Family tragedy fuels dam-risk awareness. 7/30/17, Journal Gazette
Family of kayaker who died in 2015 at Hosey Dam works to raise awareness of the hazards posed by low-head dams. Their "Pelorus Project" has raised funds for placing 30 warning signs along rivers around Fort Wayne.

Indiana: DNR: Stay Away From Low-Head Dams At Any Cost. 7/28/17, Indiana Public Media

Indiana: Drowning investigators working to get all data. 7/28/17, Herald Bulletin
Indiana DNR asks state inspector general to determine statutory responsibility for collecting drowning data. The DNR has hired a data specialist to compile a report on drownings for use in water safety initiatives.

Colorado: Poudre River dams are deadly, Fort Collins should take action. 7/27/17, Collegian
Modification, replacement, or removal of low-head dams urged.

California: Azusa man who drowned in San Gabriel River identified. 7/22/17, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
28-year-old drowned July 12 while swimming near a spillway.

Alabama: Floaters need to take precautions to save themselves. 7/18/17, Alexander Cty Outlook

Colorado: 2 hospitalized after Poudre River rescue. 7/17/17, Coloradoan
Teens rescued after tubing over low-head dam. Water safety tips listed.

Indiana: Indiana DNR warns about dangers of low-head dams 7/17/17, RTV6

Ohio: The lessons, some of them true, one learns from a tragedy. 7/16/17, Athens News
Lessons learned from tragedy at White's Mill.

Ohio: Heroics on the Hocking. 7/12/17, Athens News
Police officers, victim fought to save a young boy at White's Mill.

Ohio: Kayaker’s body recovered; river signage an issue. 7/12/17, Athens News
White's Mill site where 40-year-old kayaker perished marked as portage location; city officials to discuss additional signage.

Alabama: Officials recover body of Tallassee kayaker on Tallapoosa River. 7/12/17, Alexander Cty Outlook

Indiana: Conservation officers say they’re seeing more deaths at low head dams. 7/10/17, Fox 59- Indianapolis
At least 7 incidents and 4 fatalities have occurred at low-head dams in Indiana this year. Over the past 10 years, the state has seen more than 30 incidents at low head dams with more than 20 deaths. More than 10 percent of drownings in Indiana are dam-related. The state ranks 10th in the nation for people who have died in low head dams.

Indiana: Fishers man pulled from White River after kayaking incident has died. 7/10/17, Indianapolis Star

Indiana: 2 men hospitalized after kayak overturns on White River near Broad Ripple. 7/9/17, CBS4 Web

Arkansas: Authorities find body of girl, 13, who disappeared while swimming near War Eagle Mill 7/9/17, Arkansas Online

Indiana: Kayaker missing on Big Walnut Creek. 7/8/17, Banner Graphic

Ohio: Search still underway for kayaker swept over waterfall near White's Mill 7/8/17, Athens News

Tennessee: Shelbyville community rallies around family of boy who drowned in Duck River. 7/7/17, USA Today
Boy swept away in current below dam at Fisherman's Park.

Wisconsin: Kayakers share story of rescue near Menasha dam. 6/26/17, Fox 11
Vacationing couple had rented kayaks and were unaware that the gates at the Menasha dam were open when they started out on the Fox River.

Indiana: Whitley County water accident under investigation. 6/25/17, Journal Gazette
Two hospitalized after near-drowning at Collamer Low Head Dam - one had tried to kayak over the dam; the other was attempting a rescue. Indiana conservation officers are investigating.

USA / Colorado / Indiana: Experts call them 'drowning machines.' So why are they on the Poudre?. 6/24/17, Coloradoan

Wisconsin: Two kayakers rescued near Menasha Dam. 6/23/17, Fox 11
Crews rescued two kayakers on the Fox River near the Menasha Dam, June 23, 2017.

Pennsylvania: Officials Urge Caution To Kayakers, Others Out On Water. 6/23/17, CBS - Pittsburgh
USACE Pittsburgh District held a "Fixed-crest Dam Safety Summit" on June 23 to educate the public about safety around dams.

Pennsylvania: Man gets trapped in pipe, dies during flash flooding in Indiana County. 6/23/17, WTAE

Indiana: Boaters rescued from pontoons stranded on White River’s Broad Ripple Dam. 6/22/17, WTTV
Firefighters rescue 3 of 8 boaters in 3 pontoon boats trapped on the Broad Ripple Dam; the other 5 escaped on their own. Two of the boats were stranded during a rescue attempt.

Colorado: Coroner IDs teen killed in weekend tubing accident on Poudre. 6/20/17, Coloradoan

Virginia: Firefighter points out deadliest spot on the James River. 6/19/17, WTVR News 6
First responders raise awareness of water safety and safety at dams. Over the past 20 years, 20 people have died at the Z Dam on the James River.

Colorado: Teen's tubing death on Poudre River serves as safety reminder. 6/19/17, Coloradoan
Two teens swept over low-head dam near Fort Collins; survivor hospitalized.

Mississippi: Body of missing 12-year-old found in Pearl River. 6/18/17, MS News Now
Victim caught in current while swimming near Lower Head Dam in Scott County, MS.

Missouri: Rockford Beach Park reopens following drowning. 6/17/17, KSDK News
At least two teens have drowned near a dam at Rockford Beach Park, in May 2017, and June 2014;
Jefferson County officials to consider posting more detailed warning signs at the site.

Tennessee: An imperfect hero, Anna Last put her children first. 6/17/17, Knoxville News Sentinel
Anna Last drowned while saving her sons; emergency responders used a rope to pull their raft from the dam.

Tennessee: Dams like the one that killed Anna Last are 'drowning machines'. 6/17/17, Knoxville News Sentinel
Rafters caught in hydraulic at the Old Enka Dam on the Nolichucky River.

Massachusetts: Norwood police officers rescue woman from Ellis Pond. 6/14/17, Wicked Local
Officers use "rescue disk" to pull woman away from spillway in apparent attempted suicide.

Texas: Mother warns of drain in swimming hole that almost caused her son to drown. 6/5/17, Houston Chronicle
Mother tells of rescuing her son from a drainage hole in a dam at Georgetown's Blue Hole Park. The grate that normally covered the hole had been removed, reportedly by vandals.

Illinois: Firefighters assist in search at Algonquin dam, miss Elgin ceremony. 6/5/17, Elgin Courier-News
Firefighters had to forgo an annual memorial service for two firefighters who drowned June 2, 1974 during a rescue at Kimball Street Dam in order to search for man who drowned near the Algonquin Dam on June 2, 2017. As of now, it is unclear whether the 2017 drowning is dam-related.

Alabama: Dangerous dam in northeast Alabama claims another victim. 6/5/17, WDEF News
39-year-old woman dove into Big Wills Creek, above a low-head dam where two kayakers drowned in 2015.

AlabamaOne recovered, one missing in apparent drowning in Gadsden. 6/4/17, Gadsden Times
Couple who had been fishing at a low-head dam on Wills Creek apparently jumped in to swim before disappearing. Other drownings have occurred at the site.

Maine: Boating safety gets more emphasis as Maine deaths reach 6 early in season. 6/4/17, Portland Press Herald
So far this year there have been more boating fatalities in Maine than during all of last year. Among this year's victims: a 5-year who died in mid-May after he was thrown from a canoe at a dam on Outlet Stream in Vassalboro.

Alabama: Authorities ID woman pulled from Gadsden creek. 6/4/17,
Woman's body recovered below dam on Big Wills Creek; man still missing.

Illinois: Body found in Fox River of man said to have skipped pub tab. 6/3/17, Daily Herald
Emergency responders recover body of 29-year-old below Fox River Dam.

Missouri: 20-year-old man found dead near Clarksville dam after long search. 6/3/17, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Victim had been walking on the spillway at Lock and Dam 24.

TennesseeWoman drowns, family rescued at Enka Dam on Nolichucky River. 6/2/17, Citizen Tribune
Mother drowned while trying to save 4 children (2 her own) and another adult from the hydraulic at Enka low-head dam, where their raft was trapped. First responders used a rope to pull the raft to shore.

North Carolina: Holt’s Lake Drowning Victim Identified. 6/1/17, Daily Record

Wisconsin: Canoe victims’ bodies recovered from Flambeau River. 5/31/17, The Chetek Alert
The victims - two men in their mid-30s - disappeared on March 18 after their canoe capsized at the Clearwater Paper Company dam.

IowaRescue crews call Des Moines dam a 'perfect drowning machine. 5/30/17, KCCI - Des Moines
Water rescue teams take part in practice exercise a day after a boat went over the Scott Street Dam; the man who was aboard is missing. 

              Related: Man not found after river search, officials say. 5/29/17, Des Moines Register

KentuckyTeen dies, man arrested after boat carrying four capsizes. 5/27/17, Lexington Herald-Leader
Of four whose boat went over Stoner Creek dam, one - a 16-year-old male - was killed, one rescued, and two were able to go for help. 

North CarolinaMan drowns while trying to help friend fishing on Johnston County lake. 5/26/17, WRAL TV
70-year-old drowned while trying to help friends whose boat was pulled into the Holt Lake spillway.

MichiganMan dies after Eaton Rapids boating accident. 5/23/17, WLNS
69-year-old man, his son, and two grandsons had been in a boat that capsized near the Smithville Dam.

OhioSearch to resume Wednesday for second kayaker missing on Scioto. 5/23/17, Columbus Dispatch

                Marion kayaker drowned; another sought. 5/23/17, Marion Star

                One dead, crews searching for second victim in Marion drowning. 5/23/17, NBC - Columbus
                Two male kayakers, age 28 and 29, caught in hydraulic at a low-head dam on the Scioto River.

Virginia: Along the Maury River, a community is divided over a dam. 5/22/17, Roanoke Times
Lexington City Council is considering removal of Jordan's Point Dam, the site of a 2006 drowning that resulted in a lawsuit against the city and posting of warning signs and buoys along the Maury River.

Pennsylvania1 dead, another missing after kayak accident on Ohio River. 5/21/17, WPXI News
Drone used to search for victims of 5/20 incident at Dashields Lock and Dam.

New HampshireWarning to boaters follows kayakers' rescue. 5/18/17, New Hampshire Union Leader
Five teens who had rented kayaks clung to buoys above the Hooksett Dam while waiting for help.

Maine: Vassalboro boy who died in canoe accident recalled as ‘knight in shining armor’. 5/16/17, Portland Press Herald
Mollie Egold was with her 5-year-old son William when they went into the stream on a canoe that people can use for free at a park along Outlet Stream.

Maine: ‘Spectacular little boy’ dies in canoe accident in Vassalboro. 5/16/17, Portland Press Herald
Five-year-old William Egold suffered severe hypothermia after he and his mother toppled into Outlet Stream.

IowaTeen pulled from Cedar River. 5/15/17, The Courier - Waterloo, IA
First responders rescue teen who had fallen into turbulent waters below Ice House Dam.

PennsylvaniaYoung Montgomery County man dies in Youghiogheny River in dam outflow area. 5/13/17, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
21-year-old victim drowned after diving into the river at the base of Youghiogheny Dam.

MinnesotaTwo Boaters Rescued at Dresbach Lock and Dam. 5/8/17, WJON
Men rescued after their boat stalled above dam's gates; the dam operator was able to close the gates before the boat was pulled through.

VirginiaWoman nearly killed after bad decision on James River. 5/3/17, WTVR News 6
Rope rescue saves tubers who became trapped in hydraulic after floating over the Z Dam.

MissouriHFD flood response team credited with saving life. 5/2/17, Hannibal Courier-Post
Hannibal Swift Water Rescue Team saves man whose boat was swept over the Fredericktown City Lake spillway.

PennsylvaniaAmerican Rivers outlines Marianna dam-removal project. 4/29/17, Washington Observer Reporter
According to the PA Fish and Boat Commission, 285 low-head dams have been removed in Pennsylvania since 1995, including 72 over the past 5 years. American Rivers has removed dozens of dams at no cost to taxpayers.

              Risks are too great to keep Marianna dam intact. 4/30/17, Washington Observer Reporter
              At least four people have died at the site since the 1940s.

TennesseeTWRA identifies boaters killed in fishing accident at Tennessee dam. 4/26/17, Fox 17 - Nashville
Two men killed after their boat was pulled through the Pickwick Dam spillway.

Arkansas4-Year-Old Climbs Out Of Arkansas River After Boat Capsizes, Tells Authorities His Family Needs Help. 4/23/17, KSFM News
Toddler's brother, father, and step-mother killed when their fishing boat was pulled into Lock and Dam 14 at Fort Coffee.

IllinoisBody of Ameren worker recovered, identified. 4/23/17, Fort Madison Daily Democrat
Hydro technician appears to have fallen from the Keokuk-Hamilton Dam.

Illinois4 rescued from boat stalled under bridge in Algonquin. 4/22/17, Northwest Herald
First responders rescue boaters stranded above a low-head dam on the Fox River. [Rescue and preceding training exercise shown on the Facebook page of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District.]

Texas: More details released about rescue efforts for deceased diver. 4/21/17, KXXV News Channel 25 - Waco
Despite being tethered to shore, a volunteer diver was fatally injured while searching for a missing man at a low-head dam on House Creek.

Texas1 dead, 1 injured after boat goes over Lake Palestine spillway. 4/19/17, KLTV
Boat sped past buoys marking spillway; investigation underway.           

                Related: Authorities identify victim killed in boating accident on Lake Palestine. 4/20/17, KLTV

NevadaReno firefighters say 2 men jumped after losing control of kayaks. 4/19/17, Reno Gazette-Journal
Men jumped into Truckee River before their kayaks were pulled into a low-head dam.

Michigan: Will Eaton Rapids still be the Island City without its dams?. 4/18/17, Lansing State Journal
Residents disagree on merits and dangers of low-head dams on the Grand River.

PennsylvaniaDEP requests removal of Kernsville Dam. 4/18/17, Republican Herald
$10.8 million requested to remove dangerous dam.

IowaNAME RELEASED: Officer, citizens pull man from river in Cedar Falls. 4/14/17, KCRG-TV9
41-year-old victim fell below a dam near the Center Street bridge, where he had been fishing.

PennsylvaniaFamily of 4 rescued from Black Rock Dam on Schuylkill River. 4/13/17, Phoenixville News
Emergency responders towed boat out of hydraulic below dam.

New YorkHornell man drowns in Almond. 4/11/17, The Evening Tribune
23-year-old victim fell from capsized kayak at Almond Dam.

VirginiaFamily of five rescued from Goose Creek Reservoir Dam. 4/11/17, Loudoun Times-Mirror.
After repeated attempts, first responders save family whose boat drifted to the 20-ft high dam after its motor failed.

MichiganRecovery effort continues in search for Colorado man missing on Kalamazoo River. 4/7/17, WWMT News 3
Victim apparently fell into the Kalamazoo River and became unresponsive after crossing a low-head dam.

IndianaMarkle Mill among state's low-head 'Dam Dangerous' sites. 4/3/17, Tribune-Star - Terre Haute
Indiana DNR and DHS are working together to raise awareness of the dangers presented by the approximately 150 low-head dams in the state. Markle Mill Dam was the site of a drowning in 2010; another 13 drownings at low-head dams in Indiana have been recorded since then.

WisconsinXcel Energy urges safety near dams. 4/3/17, La Crosse Tribune
In light of Gov. Walker's proclaiming this week as Dam Safety Awareness Week in Wisconsin, Xcel Energy offers tips for being safe around dams.

WisconsinDam officials urge boater safety. 4/1/17, WKBT-TV - La Crosse
Fisherman drowned after being pulled into gates at Genoa Dam; his boat had capsized in the restricted zone below the dam.

                Related: Tragic accident serves as reminder for area anglers. 4/3/17, WKBT-TV - La Crosse
                Signs posted at Genoa Dam warn boaters to stay a minimum of 150 ft away from the lock and dam.

TennesseeWhitwell man recognized for rescue attempt at Ketner's Mill. 3/23/17, Chattanooga Times Free Press
Jeromy Richardson, who drowned in 2015 while attempting a low-head dam rescue, has been named a 2017 Carnegie Hero. [Carnegie Hero Fund announcement]

U.S./IndianaPicturesque low dams turn deadly with swift currents. 3/21/17, USA Today
Recent drowning in Columbus, Indiana is one of more than 500 that have occurred at low-head dams in the U.S. since 1953. Most of these structures are unregulated due to their small size; accordingly, the number of low-head dams nationwide is largely unknown.

WisconsinWoman rescued from river near Kilbourn Dam. 3/16/17, Wisconsin Dells Events
Woman who apparently jumped from bridge clung to cable and barrel system at Kilbourn Dam until firefighters pulled her from the water.

IndianaWoman dies while attempting to rescue dog. 3/7/17, Daily Journal
Body recovered from sand bar below Q.G. Noblitt Dam (state ID 3-7, national ID IN03600). 33 year-old victim was last seen just above Noblitt low-head dam (LHD) approaching the river (and the LHD) to rescue a dog, whose body was also found on a bank below the LHD.

                Related: How a deadly dam may have killed Jackie Watts. 3/20/17, Indianapolis Star
                Victim last seen near a dam on the Flatrock River in Columbus.

IndianaCouple rescued from disabled boat. 2/21/17, Seymour Tribune
Boat became stuck on Rockford Dam after motor lost power.

New JerseyOld dams on Passaic tributaries called drowning risk. 1/26/17,
Pequannock River Coalition urges state and local officials to post warning signs at dams on the Pequannock and Ramapo rivers; removing dams is a controversial option.

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