Authorities recover the body of a missing Oologah-Talala High school student. Harrison Lodes disappeared Friday when he and two friends fell off a raft near the spillway of Oologah Lake. What began as a rescue mission, became a recovery one Saturday morning. The News On 6â€™s Chris Wright reports the body of 18-year-old Lodes, who would have graduated Saturday evening, was found a few hundred yards from where he was last seen.
The search for Lodes resumed Saturday morning, with the hope things would turn out differently. The high school senior had gone rafting Friday with two friends, 18-year-old Bryce Underhill and a 16-year-old sophomore. Those two boys suffered minor injuries. Lodes never made it to shore. After suspending their search late Friday night, authorities and volunteers were again combing the river by 7 a.m. Shortly after 11, they found the 18-year-old's body.
"Harrison was an angel from above,â€ said Lodesâ€™ mother Cindy Buxton. â€œHe was a sweet-spirited boy, a kind boy, a polite boy, always worried about other instead of himself."
Buxton says her son was a bright kid who dreamed of being a rock star. He played goalie for the soccer team and was active in debate and drama. He was supposed to spend the morning at Oologah-Talala's baccalaureate ceremony. After graduation, he planned on attending OSU Tech and majoring in graphic design. Lodes wanted to design video games.
"The angels must need someone to play PlayStation with, he loved that too," Buxton said.
Rescue workers say this case is especially tragic because none of the boys had life vests on. Had Lodes been wearing one, they believe he may have survived. His mom hopes this tragedy will urge others to be more vigilant about water safety and says no mother should have to spend her son's graduation day like this.
"I'm hoping that the tragedy that's happening to my family will help save other families from the same fate," said Buxton.
Lodesâ€™ sister and cousin will be at Saturdayâ€™s graduation to receive his diploma. The family has also set up a trust fund in Lodesâ€™ name at Arvest Bank in Oologah. They say most of the donations made will be given to the American Red Cross.
05/18/2007 Teen Missing After Rafting Accident