Man dies after rescue
One man who was rescued last week from a Corydon dam along Big Indian Creek died Sunday, May 29, 2011, at 10:45 p.m.
Evan Alexander, 20, died at University Hospital in Louisville, where he had been on a ventilator since being admitted last Tuesday night, according to Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Schreck.
Alexander, who was employed as a cook at O’Charley’s restaurant in Corydon, and two friends, Braden Ritchie, 19, of Corydon and Bradly Miller, 18, of Laconia, had been swimming on the upstream side of the dam, located southeast of the YMCA of Harrison County late Tuesday afternoon.
Schreck said that Alexander, who was a 2009 graduate of Corydon Central High School, got too close to the dam and started to get swept over it.
Witnesses told Schreck and others who responded to the scene that Miller attempted to grab Alexander’s hand and also got swept over the dam.
Ritchie, who called 911 and then ran to the downstream side of the dam, ‘was able to pull both victims to shore once they went unconscious and were swept downstream,’ Schreck said.
He started CPR on Miller, as he was pulled out last. Schreck said that Alexander and Miller had been in the dam’s ‘boil’ for approximately five minutes.
‘Three juveniles who were playing downstream of the dam saw this unfold and, thankfully, ran to get help at the baseball field,’ Schreck said. ‘Five adults ‘ Russell Kopp, John Robinson, Thomas Scott Dearth, Darryl Daily and Ray Fessel ‘ rushed to the scene from the ball fields.’
Daily helped stabilize the victims while the other adults provided CPR. Daily also helped direct EMS personnel to the scene.
‘They, undoubtedly, saved Bradly Miller’s life and should be recognized for their efforts,’ Schreck said.
Alexander was initially taken by ambulance to Harrison County Hospital in Corydon and later was transported by air ambulance to University Hospital, where he spent an extended period of time on a ventilator, Schreck said.
Miller was taken by ground ambulance to University Hospital and was released a couple of days later.
Also assisting at the scene were Officers Chris Walden and Ryan Nichols of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department along with Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye.
Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department and EMS responded quickly and did an outstanding job,’ Schreck said.
‘I want to express my gratitude to Sheriff Seelye for his help,’ he added. ‘From an investigator’s standpoint, it’s difficult to manage a scene by yourself, and he made sure his guys were available until our guys (Conservation Officer Jim Hash and Sgt. Kim Wolsiefer) arrived.’
Alexander’s funeral will be Friday at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon.
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With water temperatures and summertime activities just beginning, Schreck said there are a few things people should realize.
‘Low-head dams are known as ‘drowning machines’ in the rescue/water safety field, and for good reason,’ he said. ‘No one should boat, play, recreate anywhere near the upstream or downstream side of them. They are a focus of our training as (Indiana conservation officers) when we go to river rescue school, due to their danger.’
In the event that someone should fall in the water near a dam, or anywhere in the water, remember some basic rules.
‘One, reach. Two, throw. Three, row. Four, go, and in that order,’ Schreck said.
‘First, try to reach them with a stick, pole, rope, paddle, oar, anything,’ he said. ‘Second, throw them something: PFD (personal flotation device), cooler, anything that floats. Third, row or paddle to them if a boat is available and can be done safely. Last resort, go to them but only if it can be done safely.
‘A drowning victim will instinctively want to climb on top of their rescue, putting them in danger,’ Schreck said. ‘One other thing most people don’t think about is wearing PFDs or life jackets when swimming; I know most don’t do it, but it is an option.’