(FLOYD CO.) – The body of Donald Watson was recovered during search operations Wednesday at approximately 4:40 p.m.
Friends of the victim were assisting Indiana Conservation Officers in the search just downstream of the Sherman Minton bridge when they located the body adrift in the river. Watson’s body was subsequently recovered by Indiana Conservation Officers.
The Floyd County Coroner’s Office has ruled accidental drowning as the preliminary cause of death, pending toxicology test results.
Indiana Conservation Officers suspended search operations Tuesday night due to darkness. Operations resumed this morning.
The search began after a boat crash on the Ohio River.
One man was 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 the evening of July 1.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. 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 Watson 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.
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.