Safety at Dams in the News: 2019

Incidents: 39
Deaths: 30
Injuries: 13

In order of most recent:

KansasBoy drowns in spillway area at Clinton Lake. 7/19/2019. KCTV News 5.
Quote: "Rescue crews recovered the body of a 13-year old boy at Clinton Lake on Friday. [...] Back at the Clinton outlet, or spillway area, is where investigators say [he] was playing in the water when he went under."

Kansas: Woman, child and dog rescued from river in Kansas. 7/16/2016. Hay's Post.
Quote: "First arriving units encountered a mother and her small child in a kayak in the river, hanging onto the bridge pillar just above the dangerous low head dam."

MinnesotaMissing Winona Boater Found. 7/15/2019. CBS Minnesota.
Quote: "Authorities say that just before 7:30 p.m. Friday, two people fell into the Mississippi River when their boat capsized after they attempted to pull over at the spillway."

Wisconsin: Body of father found near Prairie du Sac dam. 7/14/2019. WTMJ.
Quote: "The body of a man who went missing while trying to save his children has been recovered in the Wisconsin River."

Colorado: Drowning victims identified: Morgan County Coroner determined both fatalities were accidents in two separate incidents. 7/9/2019. Fort Morgan Times (Colorado).
Quote: "Prascher was using a flotation device while floating east in the river. She came to a low head dam in the river that diverts water from the river. She went over the dam and was caught in the diversion."

Pennsylvania:Harrisburg firefighters try to rescue kayakers, end up needing rescue themselves. 7/8/2019. Penn Live.
Quote: "The kayakers were ahead of them, went past a set of warning buoys and ended up going over the dam. The rescue crew of three people went over shortly after."

IowaKayaker drowns after riding over low-head dam near Clarinda, Iowa. 7/8/2019. Omaha World-Herald.
Quote: "A kayaker drowned on Friday while trying to ride across a low-head dam on the Nodaway River in southwest Iowa."

IowaMissing boater believed to be 59-year-old Ricky Veenstra. 7/8/2019. The Gazette.
Quote: "The sheriff’s office said witnesses reported Veenstra went into the Cedar River from a boat just below the spillway and did not resurface."

California: Rafter Almost Drowned Near Sundial Bridge in Redding. 7/8/2019. Action News Now - Chico.
Quote: "The ACID diversion dam was downstream but the four Redding residents were not aware of it. Though the four tried to swim to the shore the current was strong and they swiftly headed downstream towards the diversion dam."

ColoradoTuber Dies After Floating Over South Platte River Dam. 7/6/2019. CBS4 - Denver.
Quote: "Investigators say the group was floating east in the river near Fort Morgan when they came upon the low head dam. Two of the women agreed to get out of the water, but the third woman stayed in the water. The two women then saw the woman go under the water and not come back up for an unspecified amount of time. She finally resurfaced, unresponsive."

MIssouri / ArkansasTwo drown in McDonald County in recent weeks. 7/4/2019. McDonald County Press.
Quote: "Upon seeing the swimmer struggle, [he] entered the water downstream to attempt a rescue. The two quickly became caught in the waters current but were able to rely on each other until the Noel Fire Department arrived on-scene."

Indiana: One rescued, one killed after boat crashes near McAlpine Dam. 7/4/2019. ABC57.
Quote: "After two days of searching, officials have located the body of a man thrown overboard following a boat crash on the Ohio River. On July 1, a boat carrying [two men] crashed into the upper gates of the McAlpine Dam, throwing both men overboard."

North Carolina3 hurt after boat runs up on dam between Falls Lake, Beaver Dam. 7/4/2019. CBS17 - Raleigh.
Quote: "Three people were injured after a boat drove up onto the dam separating Falls Lake and Beaver Dam."

North CarolinaChild Rescued After Getting Caught in 'Drowning Machine' on Dan River in Rockingham County. 6/30/2019. WFMY News 2.
Quote: A boy and his family were swimming at the Dan River's Lindsey Bridge Access in Madison, when the boy became trapped in the water hydraulics flowing from a low-head dam, nicknamed the "Drowning Machine." 

Michigan: Woman trapped along dam rescued from Dowagiac River. 7/1/2019.Fox 17 - West Michigan.
Quote: "When emergency responders arrived, the woman was clinging to the side of the dam in the water before being pulled to safety."

CaliforniaMan nearly drowns on Kings River near Pine Flat Dam. 6/28/2019. Your Central Valley.
Quote: "He managed to grab some brush and hold on. Deputies responded by vehicle, helicopter, and boat, but Cal Fire personnel managed to get to the man first. They tossed devices to him, and the man grabbed hold. Firefighters pulled him to shore in a semi-conscious state."

Illinois/Iowa: Man falls into Mississippi River from Lock and Dam 14. 6/23/2019. Quad City Times.
Quote: "Illinois and Iowa search and rescue teams spent several hours on the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 14 on Saturday searching for a 35-year-old man who reportedly fell into the swift-moving river on the Hampton, Illinois, side of the dam."

Missouri: Wichita man dies trying to save woman from drowning in Missouri's Elk River. 6/22/2019. KWCH12.
Quote: "The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a woman was swept underwater at the dam. They say 26-year-old Jacob Farley dived into the water to try and save her."

Oklahoma28-year-old Texas man drowns while fishing in southeast Oklahoma, officials say. 6/16/2019. KOCO News 5.
Quote: "A 28-year-old Texas man drowned Saturday night while fishing at Denison Dam in southeast Oklahoma"

Idaho: 21-year-old Idaho man drowns in Teton River Friday afternoon. 6/18/2019. Standard Journal.
Quote: "The young men floated in tubes over a diversion dam and the currents stranded two of the young men and an undertow dragged the 21-year-old male under the dam, trapping him and drowning him."

CaliforniaMan drowns after attempting to 'surf a spillway' off the Kings River. 6/15/2019. ABC30 Fresno CA.
Quote: "According to investigators, he tied a rope to a handrail, then himself and jumped in with a raft, attempting to "surf the spillway." When he did and jumped into the raft, the raft broke out of the bottom and he went down into the water and never resurfaced."

UtahKayaker drowns in Jordan River. 6/14/2019. The Salt Lake Tribune.
Quote: "The man, who was described as in his 50s, was kayaking ... when the boat overturned on the spillway. The force of the moving water kept the man submerged underwater and he drowned, according to officials."

MinnesotaWoman escapes Mississippi River near edge of dam. 6/9/2019. KSTP News.
Quote: "She escaped just before going over a nearby dam .... The video shows an emergency responder and a person who appears to be a civilian help her to her feet and off the rocky bank where she made it out of the water."

TennesseeWho owns Peery's Mill Dam? Drowning victim's mother wants safety changes. 6/10/2019. WBIR News.
Quote: "Several people have drowned in the vortexes created at Peery's Mill and other low-head dams throughout the country. [A] Hardin Valley Middle School student ... drowned in the Littler River one week ago. Her mother and the relatives of other drowning victims are asking for improved warning signs and other safety improvements"

MissouriIndependence man dies at Blue Springs Lake. 6/10/2019. KSHB News.
Quote: "[A man] was spotted casting a net near the spillway at the Blue Springs Lake during the mid-afternoon. About an hour later, [he] was spotted floating face down in the water around 5:30 p.m."

New Jersey: Man rescued from Camden County dam. 6/4/2019. WPVI-TV.
Quote: "Officials said the man climbed on the water structure but then became stuck when the water level dropped."

NebraskaBody of missing kayaker found; grandfather remembers his grandson as humble. 6/11/2019. Lincoln Journal Star.
Quote: " [A man] was trying to go over the Loup Public Power District diversion dam on the Loup River on May 25 when his kayak tipped over."

Tennessee: Maryville girl, 13, drowns at Walland dam. 5/30/2019. WBIR.
Quote: "A 13-year-old girl drowned Wednesday afternoon at Peery's Mill Dam, a place that's proved hazardous to swimmers in the past."

MichiganKayaker dies after being pulled into water at dam. 5/30/2019. WTVB.
Quote: "The Albion Department of Public Safety says [a] 56-year-old [women] was kayaking with a friend when she lost control of her kayak and the swift-moving water pulled her under through a nearby dam"

Colorado: Pueblo officials urge water safety following man's death, 5/30/2019. Associated Press.
Quote: "Pueblo emergency officials are warning of the dangers of the area's waterways after an 18-year-old man was found dead in a canal this week."

Indiana: The search continues for the kayaker caught under a Norway Dam current. 5/27/2019. WLFI News.
Quote: "Lieutenant Dan Dulin with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has spent the day with six other agencies searching for a body in the Norway Dam. 'The White County communications center received a 911 call from individuals that stated their friend had capsized in a kayak,' said Dulin."

OklahomaHero dies trying to save girl from swirling waters. 5/6/2019. KTEN News
Quote: " The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said a Denison man drowned Sunday evening while trying to save a 10-year-old girl from strong current near Denison Dam."

North CarolinaAfter teetering over the edge of dam for days, boat is removed, NC officials say. 4/16/2019. Charlotte Observer.
Quote: "Polk County Emergency Management posted late Monday that heavy winds and high lake levels prevented crews from removing the pontoon boat. 'It is too dangerous for anyone to get close to the boat with the current conditions,' Monday’s post said."
Note: While nobody was hurt in this incident, first responders were put in danger while trying to recover the boat from the dam.

GeorgiaAL woman killed in kayaking incident on Chattahoochee River ID’d. 4/3/2019. WTVM9.
Quote: "Harris County Coroner Joe Weldon has confirmed that [a] 37-year-old [women] from Henagar, Alabama died when the kayak she was in with her 11-year-old son went through a low head dam on the Chattahoochee River."

IllinoisTwo Bodies Identified From DuPage River Near Hammel Woods In Shorewood. 4/1/2019. WJOL.
Quotes: "The bodies of two people who drowned Sunday, March 31, in the DuPage River in Shorewood were recovered Monday, April 1, by emergency responders." "The dam may look calm at times, but it is extremely dangerous because of the turbulence at the structure’s base."

IndianaSearch suspended for person seen in water near Edinburgh’s Big Blue River Dam. 1/24/2019. FOX59.
Quote: The search for a person seen going into the water near the Big Blue River Dam has been suspended.

Wisconsin: 2 children pulled from water after falling through ice in Sparta. 1/6/2019. WAOW
Quote: Fire Chief Mike Arnold says at 3:11 p.m. they received a call for someone falling through the ice. He says they were told three children under the age of 12 were on the ice walking near the dam when two of them fell through.

Iowa: Two Kayakers Involved in Accident Near Red Rock Dam. 1/5/2019, KNIA/KRLS
Quote: “We saw the kayaks were up by the danger sign, and one of them got sucked in and the other one followed him in and got sucked in too,” he said.

Special thanks to our sustaining members