Reports of Public Safety Incidents in the News: 2021

Reports of Public Safety Incidents in the News: 2021

The ASDSO Public Safety Around Dams Committee tracks U.S. dam incidents reported in the news. This is not a comprehensive list of all incidents in the United States in a given year, and the entries are created (or excluded) using the best information available to us at the time. If you see an error or would like to provide additional information, please contact Katelyn Riley at [email protected].

Incidents: 34
Deaths: 39
Injuries: 1
Condition Unknown: 1

In order of most recent:

Oklahoma: FOX23 viewer warns of drowning dangers at popular swimming spot. 7/18/2022.
Event occurred in 2021. Date Unknown.
Quote: "Besides the father’s death in May, a 10 year old girl drowned in 2021 and a 3 year old girl drowned in 2018."
Deaths: 1.

Oklahoma: Search Continues. Sequoyah County Times. 12/29/2021.
Quote: "An unidentified witness told authorities he saw the man fall in and attempted to run to his aid over the rip rap but was too late."
Additional Story: Oklahoma crews searching for possible drowning victim at Kerr Lock and Dam. 40/29 News.
Deaths: 1.

Louisiana: Body believed to be missing man found in Pearl River. 4WWL. 12/9/2021.
Quote: "When it's low like that with the water churning on the other side, anything that gets trapped in it, it just kind of rolls back and forth in that dam."
Deaths: 2.

Pennsylvania: Update: woman dies after boat overturns in Susquehanna River in Conoy Township. FOX43. 10/23/2021.
Quote: "[She] was one of three people who were fishing near the York Haven Hydro Station, on the Susquehanna River, when their boat capsized sending all three people into the water, police said."
Deaths: 1.  

Nebraska: Authorities investigating woman's drowning. Star-Herald. 10/9/2021.
Quote: "Initial reports indicated that the woman and her husband were canoeing on the river, and the canoe overturned at a check dam."
Deaths: 1.

Illinois: The alert, heroic actions of this southwest Illinois police officer saved two lives. Belleville News-Democrat. 9/20/2021.
Quote: "A driver flagged him down, warning him he’d been in a capsized boat in the lake when driving over the spillway."

Alabama: Man drowns while fishing with son at Weiss Lake in Cherokee County. CBS42. 9/18/2021.
Quote: "A man who had been fishing with his son at Weiss Lake below the dam went underwater and did not resurface Friday morning."
Deaths: 1.

Michigan: Residents urged to exercise caution, safety following recent rescue incidents on Clinton River. The Oakland Press. 7/30/2021.

  • July 25 Incident: Quote: "... a 50-year-old man jumped into the river across from Yates Cider Mill on Avon Road and was swiftly drawn into the current’s turbulence, according to the news release. Two people jumped in to save the man and were also sucked into the turbulence, but were able to rescue the man who was not breathing and unresponsive when pulled from the water, the news release stated."
    Condition Unknown
  • July 27 Incident: Quote: "...strong and volatile currents caused the kayakers to capsize, but they self-rescued after several minutes in the water."

Oklahoma: Texas man drowns after kayaking in restricted area of Mountain Fork River in McCurtain County. KOCO. 7/7/2021.
Quote: "[He] was kayaking around 2:50 p.m. Tuesday in Mountain Fork River when he came over the Low Head Dam and became hung in the undertow."
Deaths: 1

Kentucky: Body of missing fisherman pulled from Ohio River. WDHT. 6/28/2021.
Quote: "[He] went missing while fishing near the Newburgh Lock and Dam early Saturday morning. A witness said he lost control of the net and went into the river to get it. That witness was unable to save [him]."
Deaths: 1

North Carolina: 'We need prayers.' Pregnant woman still missing after floating over dam in NC's Dan River. McDowell News. 6/21/2021.
Quote: "The family set out on the tubing trek...Ultimately, though, all nine floated over the dam."
Deaths: 5
Also See: Family sues Duke Energy over fatal tubing excursion on Dan River

Texas: Wow… boat nearly goes over dam. Scuttlebutt Sailing News. 6/13/2021.
Quote: "Four people were rescued June 10 after their electric-powered rental boat came dangerously close to going over the Longhorn Dam near Austin, TX."

Connecticut: Body of second missing person pulled from Housatonic River. The Hour. 6/12/2021.
Quote: "A witness told police one of the two men slipped and fell off the dam and went into the river. A second man attempted to reach him and also slipped and fell in."
Deaths: 2.

Georgia: Search for drowning victim continues tomorrow, officials say to exercise caution in water. WJBF. 6/8/2021.
Quote: "The two were near a Georgia Power dam when sirens went off. Georgia Power deploys sirens to alert people to changing water levels; however a language barrier may have prevented the swimmers from understanding the warning."
Deaths: 1

Kansas: Kansas mother, two small children die in boating accident at Burlington; father injured. Topeka Capital-Journal. 6/7/2021.
Quote: "As the boat approached the low-head dam, it stalled in rapid, aerated water, at which point the operator lost control of the vessel and all occupants were ejected."
Deaths: 3

Louisiana: Authorities identify drowning victim pulled from Lake Bistineau spillway. KTBS3. 6/2/2021.
Quote: " While they were casting, one of the teens got his bait hung up. While trying to get it free, the boat was swept over the spillway."
Deaths: 1

MissouriBody of missing girl found more than 3 miles below Lime Kiln dam. Joplin Globe. 5/31/2021.
Quote: "She was wading below the low-head dam at Lime Kiln Park when she was caught in a vortex below the dam, pulled underwater and drowned."
Update: Second drowning victim succumbs to injuries, Lime Kiln Park Access on Shoal Creek at Neosho; Fundraising links to support family. KSN Local News.
Deaths: 2

Colorado: After multiple rescues on Poudre River, safety crews warning recreators to be safe. The Denver Channel. 5/29/2021.
Quote: "The incident could've turned deadly because Jaques says the canoer's feet were stuck in debris, and they weren't wearing a life jacket."

TexasMan drowns after falling into Colorado River, ATCEMS says. KVUE. 5/16/2021.
Quote: "The Austin Fire Department said that the victim was caught in a hydraulic after rafting over a low head dam on the Colorado River."
Deaths: 1

Idaho: Body of drowning victim located. KIFI. 5/11/2012.
Quote: "The student was reported swimming near the Fun Farm Bridge, when he went over a nearby dam."
Deaths: 1

Kentucky: Kayaker identified in deadly Scott Co. accident. WKYT. 5/5/2021.
Quote: "The coroner says a couple was kayaking in the North Elkhorn Creek and were close to the dam. Both of their individual kayaks turned over, sweeping them both into the water."
Deaths: 1

Arkansas: Local man drowns when pulled into spillway on area lake. KTLO. 5/1/2021.
Quote: "Chief Deputy Charley Melton says LaFevers was attempting to unclog a drain from recent flooding. He was pulled into the spillway on the lake."
Deaths: 1

Texas: Teen drowns at Dam-B. 4/25/2021.
Quote: "A teen, who was reportedly fishing near the spillway at nearby Dam B Reservoir drowned on Sunday afternoon."
Deaths: 1

Missouri: Palmyra Man dies after canoe capsized in the North River. KHQA. 4/19/2021.
Quote: "[Police] said one of the canoers and their dog went over a low head dam and went overboard."
Deaths: 1

Maine: Officials recover body of woman after drowning in Baileyville Saturday night. WABI5. 4/18/2021.
Quote: "The Maine Warden Service says a woman drowned after falling into the water below the Baileyville Dam in Baileyville Saturday night."
Deaths: 1

Indiana: Body of Danville man found in Wabash River near Cayuga. Yahoo! News. 4/18/2021.
Quote: "Duke Energy personnel reported locating fishing equipment and later an overturned boat floating down the Wabash River behind its power plant."
Deaths: 1

Oklahoma: Man drowns in Lake Overholser after Oklahoma City police officer dives into choppy water in full uniform to rescue him. KFOR-TV. 4/9/2021.
Quote: "A man drowned in Lake Overholser Friday evening after Oklahoma City emergency responders attempted to rescue him from choppy water. Firefighters were able to rescue [a police officer who attempted to rescue him], but could not rescue the man, who then went over the lake’s dam."
Deaths: 1

Ohio: 2 dead, 2 pulled from water following rescue at Delaware Dam. WSYX ABC 6. 3/30/2021.
Quote: "The Delaware County Sheriff's Office said a Good Samaritan has died along with a teenager after a water rescue at the Delaware Dam Tuesday night."
Deaths: 2

Indiana: Crews search White River after teenager swept over dam. FOX59. 3/30/2021.
Quote: "Crews responded to the dam after witnesses told them that two males and a dog were in a canoe heading downstream and were swept over the dam...The man and dog were able to make their way out of the water, but the 16-year-old was last seen in the water with no exact known location. The man was transported to the hospital with possible hypothermia."
Update: Missing teen's body recovered from White River after searching 'everywhere' for eight days. Indianapolis Star. 4/7/2021.
Deaths: 1 Injuries: 1

Pennsylvania: 11-year-old Spring Grove boy dies in reported drowning in Jackson Township. York Daily Record. 3/25/2021.
Quote: "[He] was swimming with a friend in the creek near Rockery and Hershey roads when he became caught in the current near a low-head dam."
Deaths: 1

North Carolina: Officials believe Cape Fear River boater was tossed by dam undercurrent. WRAL NEWS. 3/10/2021.
Quote: "According to crews, [the boater] was on board a small boat by himself and, according to a report, that boat may have been pulled into the dam's undercurrent."
Deaths: 1

Alabama: Fisherman drowns near dam Saturday. The Randolph Leader. 3/3/2021.
Quote: "...the man, who had been fly-fishing, standing in the Tallapoosa River almost to the opposite bank, tried to cross back over when the dam's siren sounded. However, he was wearing waders (boots) and kept falling in the swift currents. Two young men attempted to rescue him, but he slipped away from them."
Deaths: 1.

Kentucky: Missing teen kayaker caught on WAVE Weather video before disappearance, raises concerns. Wave3. 1/15/2021.
Quote: "[He was] recorded passing under the 2nd Street Bridge where there are signs prohibiting boats and kayaks. A short time later, the 16-year-old moves out of sight."
Deaths: 1.