The Edmond Sun

June 10, 2013

Responders to continue drowning victim search

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

LUTHER — First responders including members of Edmond’s dive team will resume the search Tuesday morning for a 28-year-old male who jumped into the Deep Fork River, officials said.

About 3:45 p.m., a call came in about a male who had been trapped in the water in a sort of no man’s land regarding jurisdiction along the Luther-Oklahoma City city limits, said Oklahoma City Fire Battalion Chief Mike Walker.

The Luther Fire Department arrived on the scene and requested assistance from the Edmond Fire Department, which sent members of the dive team to the scene near Northeast 178th Street and North Peebly Road.

According to eyewitness several people had been in the area drinking alcohol when the missing man jumped into the river, which is swollen with water due to recent heavy rains, the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office reported.

Walker said eyewitnesses saw the victim go under and not resurface in a turbulent area of the river. From previous incidents at the location, officials know the rock cuts under at about 10 feet, Walker said. The water in the area was measured at 10-12 mph, he said.

“Unfortunately we can’t dive in the water,” Walker said. “It’s moving way too fast.”

Dive operations were expected to begin at about 8 a.m. Tuesday, Walker said. Downstream spotters were positioned at several locations, but there were no indications someone was washed downstream, he said.

Monday afternoon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had begun the process of shutting down water flowing into the river from Arcadia Lake, Walker said. The lake is closed due to a higher than normal water level.

At about 9:50-10 p.m. Monday, officials were expected to have the flow completely shut off and then it would take multiple hours for the water downstream to drain, Walker said. Officials had to shut it down slowly to avert mass erosion, Walker said.

Walker said the area is popular with young people who come and jump into the river. The spot is called Bullhead Falls, he said.