Three people attempting to tube on the Wabash River near the Roush Reservoir dam in Huntington county last night were swept off the inflatable tubes in swift water and had to be rescued.
Indiana Conservation officers from Wabash, Grant and Kosciusko counties, as well as multiple other emergency response agencies, responded to a 911 call at approximately 9:20 p.m. June 10. Jerrika Huffman, 24, of Huntington made the call, which went to the Huntington County Sheriffs Department. She had been in the water with the others, but was able to make her way to safety.
Huffman said that Nathan R. Wright, 21, and Joni E. Wininger, 29, both also of Huntington, were still in the river clinging to branches and unable to swim or pull themselves to solid ground.
A rescue boat from the Huntington City Fire Department manned by Mike Burnworth, Joel Updike and Cale Eckert was launched into the water just below the dam. The rescuers were able to reach the two remaining victims and brought them safely back to shore. A waiting ambulance transported the two women to Huntington Parkview Hospital. Wright refused treatment.
None of the victims was using a personal flotation device, which is required by law. At least one of the victims was unable to swim. All three were ticketed by Indiana Conservation Officers for not having the required flotation devices.
“We are very fortunate to not have had any loss of life in this incident,” said Jerry Hoerdt, investigating officer. “If not for the quick actions of the Huntington Fire Department, Joni and Nathan might not have survived. All three are lucky to be alive and we cannot stress enough to wear your life jackets when on or near the water.”
Other departments assisting at the scene included the Huntington County Sheriffs Department, Mount Etna Fire Department, Andrews Fire Department and the Huntington County Technical Rescue team.
Source: Indiana DNR