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Boaters rescue six from river

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 6, 2010
— The sound of a 3-year-old screaming made Keith Stowers and his son look upriver from their boat.

There, in the rushing currents of the Rock River, were three children and three adults, all being swept downstream.


Stowers and a second boat, occupied by Michael Christopherson and William Crosby, took action immediately.


“Those boaters probably saved the lives of at least one of the kids and one of the adults,” said Capt. Rich Tippelt of the Town of Beloit Fire Department.


The incident started just before 6:44 p.m. Thursday, when the Town of Beloit police and fire departments and two deputies from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for six people in the Rock River.


The three adults and three children were getting out of the boat near a sand bar south of Townline Road near the Heron Bay subdivision, according to a news release from the Town of Beloit Fire Department.


The sand bars, which are in a wide bend in the river, are popular spots for boaters, said Town of Beloit Officer Janelle Jurkiewicz.


The party was made up of a 25-year-old female, a 33-yearold male, a 25-year-old male, and three boys, 10, 9 and 3 years old.


“It looks like they got out of their boat and into the water and were swept away,” said Tippelt.


At the scene, Stowers and the occupants of his boat, his son Jessie, 15, and their friends Tom and Kristen Kohls, took immediate action.


Stowers was able to swim to two of the children with life jackets and helped get them out of the water, according to the release.


In the second boat, Christopherson and Crosby, both of Beloit Township, were able to pull the three adults and one child out of the water.


One of the adults was believed to be under the water for several minutes before he was pulled out, the news release said.


Tippelt said his department was actually planning to do some water safety training and were just getting their boat hooked up to a tow vehicle when the call came in.


That probably saved them 10 minutes, he said.


When they got to the scene, they found the victims out of the water.


The 25-year-old male and the 33-year-old male were both transported to Beloit Memorial Hospital, Jurkiewicz said.


Their conditions were not available at press time.


The three children were seen by medical personnel at the scene.



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