19-Year-Old Dies At Illinois River Near Tahlequah

Sunday, June 7th 2015, 11:02 pm
By: News On 6

A 19-year-old man with special needs has died after falling into Illinois River east of Tahlequah. The Scenic Rivers Commission says the teenager had been fishing below an old bridge and was attempting to climb back up the bank when he had an apparent seizure and fell into the river.

River Ranger Robbie Crawford recovered the victim, who was under the water for 11 minutes. EMS was able to restore a pulse, but sadly the 19-year-old died at a hospital. It's believed he suffered heart failure.

The victim was a resident of a group home for those with special needs individuals.

This is the third drowning for the Scenic Rivers Commission in 4 weeks, none of the victims were swimming or floating, but instead fell in the water.

This is the same area of the Illinois River where two year old Kayden Garcia drowned May 16th, while playing on the river bank with his family.

5/19/2015 Related Story: Mother Says Toddler Swept Away In Seconds At Illinois River

River Rangers stress folks should abide by the "10-foot rule" when next to water -- simply wear a life jacket if you're within 10 feet of the water...not just when you're in the water.