Noblesville, IN – On April 9, 2017, at approximately 5:20 p.m., police officers from the Noblesville Police Department responded to a complaint of an overturned canoe in the White River. The incident occurred just north of the Field Drive bridge (Noblesville).
Officers from the Noblesville and Westfield Police Department arrived on the scene a short time later. Sgt. Brad Purvis (Noblesville Police Department) and Officer Josh Harrell (Westfield Police Department) were the first officers on scene. Officers quickly learned that a total of four passengers were aboard the canoe and two had already pulled themselves to safety. Officers located the two remaining individuals still in the water and clinging to a tree branch.
Sgt. Purvis and Officer Harrell entered the water and were able to rescue one of the victims. Sgt. Purvis and Officer Harrell then assisted the last victim by pulling her to a safer position on the tree but were unable to remove her from the water. Several Noblesville Fire Department personnel arrived on the scene and assisted in the rescue of the final victim. NFD Firefighter Todd Watson entered the water with the officers and was instrumental in the rescue of the last remaining victim.
All four individuals were transported to Riverview hospital and were released a short time later.
Indiana Conservation Officers responded to the scene to investigate. It was determined that the canoe overturned as a result of it striking a partially submerged tree. The four occupants then fell from the boat. They did have four PFD’s with them, however, the two youth PFD’s were not the correct size for the children.
ICO’s then followed up at Riverview hospital and learned that no injuries had been sustained, and the four individuals were treated for mild hypothermia and released.
At the time of the incident, the water temperature was significantly lower than the air temperature. Indiana Conservation Officers want to remind the public that cold water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than cold air, and initial signs of hypothermia can occur quickly in the water. It is also extremely important to possess PFD’s that are of the proper size to fit the intended wearer.
SOURCE: Indiana DNR Law Enforcement