OHP Identifies Man Pulled From SUV In Grand Lake; Recovery To Continue

Friday, November 22nd 2013, 11:30 am
By: News On 6

The efforts to recover an SUV submerged in Grand Lake is suspended until Saturday morning. Grand River Dam Authority Police confirmed three people in an SUV drove over a bluff and into the water.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and GRDA Police suspended their search at Blue Bluff Harbor just after 6 p.m. Friday. They have to wait on a barge that they say will take eight hours to get there.

So far, divers have recovered one body, but they say two more are still under water. OHP identified the man pulled from the vehicle as 24-year-old Michael John McKinney, of Brookings, Oregon.

The other two people in the vehicle have not been identified.

Troopers believe that the driver of the SUV missed a 90-degree turn and went over the guard rail. They don't know what time it happened, because no one witnessed it, but they received a call just after 9 a.m. Friday morning when someone noticed the damaged guard rail.

Troopers say its an 80-foot drop to the water, and they believe the SUV landed upside down.

Until about 6 p.m., four divers were braving the 50 degree waters, and the colder temperatures once they rose to the surface, taking turns trying to recover the bodies inside the SUV.

"It's extremely cold. The divers cannot stay underwater for very long. They have to come back in and warm up, go out and then dive again," said Trooper Eric Gibe.

Troopers say the divers were working by feel and that they were trying to use inflatables to get the SUV to float to the surface, but that wasn't working.

They say the barge they are bringing in is so large that it can only travel at three miles per hour.

News On 6 was told by a neighbor near the accident site that three men never returned home this morning.

GRDA and OHP are expected to continue their search at 7 o'clock Saturday morning.