One Rescued, Search Continues for Another After Boat Crashes on Ohio River

(OHIO RIVER) – One man has been rescued from the Ohio River by the Clarksville Fire Department after the boat he was on crashed into the upper gates of the McAlpine Dam Monday evening.

Indiana Conservation Officers along with multiple other agencies are resuming their search this morning for the boat and its operator, who failed to resurface after the boat capsized. 

Shortly after 6:30 p.m. Monday, emergency crews responded to the McAlpine Dam area after witnesses observed the boat capsize.  The operator, 26-year-old Donald Watson, of Louisville, and his passenger, 28-year-old Levell Washington, of Jeffersonville, were both thrown overboard after an apparent malfunction with the boat’s motor near the dam. 

Washington managed to jump from the boat and was swept through the gates of the dam before being rescued by Clarksville Fire Department.  Watson was seen struggling to stay afloat before disappearing beneath the surface.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Washington had purchased the 18’ fiberglass boat earlier this week, and this was his first time operating the boat on the Ohio River.  Neither of the men was initially wearing lifejackets, but according to interviews both did manage to put them on just prior to the collision.

Indiana Conservation Officers are continuing to investigate with assistance from local agencies.  Multiple agencies responded to the scene including Indiana Conservation Officers, Clarksville Fire Department, Clarksville Police Department, New Albany Fire Department, New Albany Police Department, Indiana State Police, Louisville Fire Department, Jeffersonville Fire Department, and Yellow EMS.