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Perry County man, 51, drowns in Little Blue River

New sonar equipment operated by Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources conservation officers assisted in locating the body of a Perry County man who drowned Saturday in the Little Blue River near Alton.
According to officials, Robert A. Cotton, 51, and Ryan Mosier, 26, both of Mount Pleasant, had been in a 15-foot fishing boat on the Ohio River and had decided to seek relief from the heat by finding a shady area. The men traveled up the Little Blue River about a mile, stopped the boat and jumped into the water to cool off.
According to officials, Mosier said that after both men jumped into the river, Cotton failed to return to the surface. Mosier was able to summon help, and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Dept. was notified. The sheriff’s department then contacted DNR conservation officers, who responded with boats and their new Side-Scanning Sonar Unit.
‘I was up near Patoka when I got the call,’ Conservation Officer Dennis Talley said. ‘I had my boat with me, so I was able to respond quickly. (Indiana State Police) Trooper Chuck Pirtle was the first diver at the scene.
‘It actually took longer to hook up the sonar on the boat than to find the missing man. We interviewed Mosier and was able to determine the area where he went down,’ Talley said. ‘The sonar was able to scan the whole bottom from bank to bank. When we passed over the body with the boat, there he was. There was no question. We could tell it was a person right away … ‘
Pirtle and other DNR divers entered the water, and 10 minutes later the body was retrieved and turned over to Crawford County Coroner Chris Brown for cause-of-death conformation.
Mosier was transported to the Crawford County Jail and incarcerated on the charge of operating a watercraft while intoxicated.
Crawford County Emergency Medical Services, Crawford County Emergency Management Agency, and members of the English and Leavenworth Volunteer Fire departments also assisted.
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Robert A. Cotton, formerly of Greenville, was born in Louisville.
Survivors include two sons, Robert Cotton II of Leavenworth and Josh Cotton of Greenville.
Visitation was yesterday (Tuesday) and will be today after 9 a.m. at Love Funeral Home in Palmyra.
The funeral will be today at 11 a.m. at the funeral home followed by burial in Greenville Cemetery.