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With Conservation Officer Jim Schreck, right, checking for debris from the bow, fellow C.O. Terry Allen, left, steers a boat on the swollen Blue River Friday afternoon. Officers rescued Larry (Doug) Albright, middle, from the logjam seen in the foreground after Albright’s kayak capsized. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

Dangerous Blue prompts rescue


June 24, 2009 | 08:26 AM

With one Indiana Conservation Officer saying the Blue River was probably the most dangerous water he had ever operated in, a Corydon man was rescued from the swollen river Friday afternoon.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to Blue River, approximately a quarter-mile downstream from Blue River Chapel, where 58-year-old Larry (Doug) Albright was stranded on a logjam in the middle of the river.

Albright had been kayaking with his wife, Cathy, when he capsized. The water was rushing and caused his life jacket to slip off as he capsized.

Conservation officers Terry Allen, Neal Brewington, Joe Lackey, Dennis Talley and Jim Schreck responded to the scene, along with staff from O'Bannon Woods State Park, Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department, and EMS from Harrison County Hospital.

Allen, Brewington and Schreck launched a boat at Stagestop Campground and went upstream to the victim. Upon reaching the logjam, officers threw a life jacket to Albright and he climbed into the boat. The victim was taken to Blue River Chapel, where he was examined by EMS workers. He had no injuries.

"In my short six years on the job, it was definitely the most intense situation that I have ever been in on the water," Schreck said. "(It was) like a scenario straight out of our river rescue school we had during academy training. The water, according to the USGS Web site, was nearly 10 feet deep, in comparison to 4-1/2 feet deep the night before, due to the rain.

"I'd suggest that people stay off the river in these conditions."

Allen agreed that it was probably the most dangerous water that he had operated in, outside of training.

"(Albright) is very fortunate the accident didn't kill him. With the way the water was moving, it could have pinned him against the debris or even taken him under the water. When water has the force to rip off your life jacket, you know it's moving pretty quick," Allen said. "Just getting our boat into the water took patience. It was a mess."

"He did an outstanding job of operating the boat," Schreck said of Allen. "One wrong move and we would have swamped that boat."

Bob Sawtelle, property manager at O'Bannon Woods State Park, said conservation officers on the scene, as well as property personnel, did an outstanding job with the rescue.

It was the second river rescue within a week. Earlier, conservation officers used throwbags to rescue two males who capsized a canoe on Blue River.

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    Thanks to our rescue personnel!
    June 30, 2009 | 03:57 PM

    It makes me feel good again about living in this country again while under an incapable President knowing we have such highly skilled rescue personnel in our county! Thanks for rescuing my husband's co-worker's husband!

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 • 1-812-738-2211 • email