16-year-old Indiana girl dies after being swept away in river
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A teenager suffers a tragic death after being swept down the Blue River in Harrison County. It was the first of two water rescues on the river in less than 18 hours.
16-year-old Alissa Knight was swimming with a friend just above the Milltown dam Tuesday evening when she got stuck. A bystander says Knight jumped off a log on the opposite side of the river access. It was at that time the witness says she got caught in the current.
"She jumped off and started to swim, and she got too close to the dam, and that's when she was screaming, that's when I saw her and that's where she went off," said Mason Miller. As an employee of Cave Country Canoe, Mason Miller safely guides people out of the water daily. But Tuesday evening, his job transformed into first responder. "I just started to run as fast as I could."
While on the phone with 9-1-1, Miller waded into the water near the dam to search for Alissa.
"The workers saw her go up and down two or three times, tried to assist her and had no success," said Harrison County coroner Rusty Sizemore.
Witnesses say water levels were above normal, and the current stronger than usual Tuesday, following two days of rain. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says swimming near dams no matter how high or low the water is not advised.
"They look like calm tranquil waters up-stream from the dam itself, but then below the dam they have what's called a hydraulic current which tends to just flip an object over and over again, sucking it down underneath the water," said Jim Hash of the DNR.
Harrison County Coroner Rusty Sizemore says the North Harrison High School Junior was pronounced dead at the scene.
"It is definitely drowning, we are not expecting any foul play whatsoever," says Sizemore.
Only about 15 hours after the fatal drowning, our cameras were there as first responders were back on the Blue River, rescuing two people from a capsized canoe. Authorities say 69-year-old Will Chappell and 56-year-old Shirley Chappell were canoeing on the river when their boat hit a log and capsized.
"When emergency responders got there, the man was in and out of consciousness."
The man was air lifted to University Hospital, while his wife declined medical help.
Both incidents a good lesson in water safety.
"We always stress for people to stay away from unfamiliar water, and to always wear a life jacket even if you think you are a very good swimmer. A life jacket can save your life in any situation," says Jim Hash.
Funeral services for Alissa Knight are planned for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Beanblossom-Cesar Funeral Home in Corydon. Visitation is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and after 9 a.m. on Saturday at the funeral home.
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