Local News

UPDATED: Incident at Salamonie Reservoir claims life of boater

Photo Supplied / Indiana DNR Law Enforcement District 2

HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (WOWO) – A man has died after an incident in the Salamonie Reservoir near the Mt. Etna Boat Ramp on Saturday afternoon.

At approximately 1:13 PM, 69-year-old Robert S. Smith, of Liberty Center, Indiana, had launched his boat into the Salamonie Reservoir when his boat started taking on water.

Nearby boaters saw what was happening and immediately came to Mr. Smith’s aid and provided him with a life flotation device. Smith then grabbed the device and exited his boat. However, during the rescue, he briefly submerged, resurfacing in distress. Smith was unconscious and not breathing when rescuers pulled him onto their boat.

Rescuers immediately began CPR and called 911.  First responders arrived within minutes of the 911 call and made their way to the boat where they took over administering CPR.  First responders continued CPR while transporting Smith to the Parkview Huntington Hospital EMS.  CPR continued until responders were told to stop by a medical authority.

The Huntington County Coroner’s Office pronounced Mr. Smith deceased at 2:02 PM. Right now, it is believed that Mr. Smith may have suffered a medical emergency as a result of the incident, but an autopsy at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center will determine the exact cause of death.

Collaborative investigations involving the Huntington County Coroner’s Office, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, Huntington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mt. Etna Volunteer Fire Department continue to piece together the events leading to this tragedy.

UPDATE: The Huntington County Coroner’s Office has since determined that Smith died as the result of drowning, due to a medical condition induced from the event. His death has been ruled an accident.


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