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Body Of Missing Fisherman Recovered At Turtle Creek Reservoir
Updated March 3, 2016 7:23 AM
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(MEROM) - Indiana Conservation Officers used side scan sonar to locate the body of 38-year-old Josue Franco of Fairbanks.

The body was found around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in approximately 17 feet of water in Turtle Creek Reservoir.

Franco's body was located approximately 1/4 of a mile south from where witnesses first saw the drifting capsized boat.

Highly skilled sonar operators used sophisticated side-scan sonar units to determine the original accident site. Sonar images of indentions left on the lake bed by the boats anchor led officer's to locate the body.

An autopsy is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. The autopsy will be conducted by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

Sullivan County Sheriff's Deputies and Hoosier Energy employees assisted in the search and rescue efforts during this incident.

Franco had been fishing with 72-year-old Charles Herrin of Fairbanks, 44-year-old Mathew Cornelison of Plainfield and his 12-year-old son.

A 911 call was placed to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Dispatch at approximately 2:30 p.m. Sunday, reporting the overturned boat.

Witnesses Mike Daley and Ernie Blankenship, both of Terre Haute, were fishing on the lake when they noticed the winds had increased severely and began to motor back to the boat ramp when they observed a capsized boat with three people clinging to the top of the boat.

Daley and Blankenship took on water into their boat while rescuing. Herrin and the two Cornelison's. They did not see Franco in the water at that time.

Indiana Conservation Officers credit Daley and Blankenship with saving the lives of these three individuals. The three were in a severe state of hypothermia and would have been in an extremely dire situation had Daley and Blankenship not risked their own lives to rescue them.

All three were taken to Sullivan County Hospital for treatment. Mathew Cornelison was later flown by Lifeline Helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he remains in stable condition. Charles Herrin and Gabriel Cornelison were both treated and released.

The wind speeds that afternoon reached over 30 mph causing extreme wave action on the shallow lake that afternoon. Indiana Conservation Officers launched a boat that afternoon, but were forced to turn around due to the dangerous conditions.

Indiana Conservation Officers and Sullivan County Sheriff's Deputies continued to search the bank locating debris from the boat until late Sunday night. They also were able to retrieve the overturned boat from the water. Conditions remained extreme on the lake and the search was suspended due to rain and lightning on the water that night.

Indiana Conservation Officers resumed the search early Monday morning consisting of boat based sonar searches of the bottom of the lake and shoreline.

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