CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) – Friday at sundown, rescue crews paused the search for a local fisherman swept underwater in the Ohio River earlier that day.
Clark County dispatch was called by fishermen shortly after noon reporting a person or persons in the water near the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville.
A woman helped rescue one of the men after people onshore saw them struggling, Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs said. Emergency crews, who gathered at the boat ramp at the end of Harrison Avenue, transported the man to Clark Memorial Hospital. Indiana DNR Conservation Officer Jim Schreck said the man had no significant injuries.
"She kind of put her own safety on the line to rescue him because I'll tell you, the last thing he remembers is going under the water and waking up in the ambulance," Schreck said.
Family members say the man still missing is 42-year-old Shawn Williams from Jeffersonville. He has two young children.
Schreck said both men had been fishing at Fisherman's Point at the Falls of the Ohio State Park when for an unknown reason they went under the water.
"The currents here can be very treacherous," Schreck said.
Williams's father Kevin Williams said a cousin was with Williams at the time and called him.
"He was very distraught saying I'm down here at the river and Shawn and them and they just went under," Kevin Williams said. "I dropped everything I was doing and here I am."
Divers and other emergency personnel began searching for the other man shortly before 2:00 p.m.
Pattern searches will be continued through sunset, Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Hasch said.
"We will be doing searches with two different types of sonar." Hasch continued. "One will be a boat based type of sonar, the other one will be what they call a remotely operated vehicle, which is a small submarine equipped with sonar and video so we can go down and speed up the recovery process."
"Every day you need to tell your children that you love them because in a blink of an eye," Kevin Williams said. "That's how quickly it happens, in a blink of an eye."
Skaggs recommended that safety jackets are worn near open water for the safety of families and first responders. Terrain, heat, staying hydrated, and staying safe were the biggest challenges to first responders, according to Skaggs; especially due to fossil beds and drop offs.
Schreck said both men were familiar with the area and both were good swimmers.