(MARTINSVILLE) – In a press conference at 11:45 a.m., DNR officials say two more bodies have been recovered in this boating accident, bringing the death total to four. One person remains missing.
The search for the remaining missing man would continue until sundown Tuesday, with authorities using two boats, two airboats, drones and searchers to scour the riverbanks and shallows.
Monday night crews searched for several hours in the White River in Morgan County for three people in the water after the johnboat they were operating capsized.
The 911 call was received by Morgan County Sheriff’s Department at approximately 9:30 p.m. Monday night. The search was suspended at approximately 2 a.m. this morning for safety of the searchers and will resume at 8 a.m. today.
Seven people were in the boat just downstream of the IPL dam on White River near Martinsville.
Lt. Angela Goldman said life jackets were in the boat, but authorities believe none of the passengers were wearing the floatation devices when the vessel capsized shortly before 9:30 p.m.
The family had been celebrating the holiday with a cookout and fishing trip along the river at the DNR’s Three Rivers Public Fishing Area, which includes a large beach and sandbar, she said.
The boat had already made one uneventful trip across the river to take other members of the party back to the west side of the river where their cars were parked. It was during the second trip that the boat capsized, she said.
Goldman said she doesn’t know why the boat capsized. The river wasn’t flooded and was at a normal late-summer level, she said. DNR officials don’t believe a dam nearby had anything to do with the accident as the vessel was a considerable distance away, she added.
For reasons unknown at this time, the boat capsized, throwing all the occupants into the river. Some of the people on shore jumped in the river to assist those who had fallen out of the boat. Some of these victims were able to make it to shore and others were pulled to shore by emergency responders.
Two of the occupants were pulled from the river and transported to local hospitals. Both of those victims, ages 73 and 6, were later pronounced deceased.
Rescue agencies recovered two more bodies this morning. They were searching for 32-year-old Antonio Sanchez-Maldonado, 63-year-old Niseforo Sanchez, and 40-year-old Rigoberto Conchas. The two men have not been identified, said DNR Capt. Jet Quillen, also a DNR conservation officer
Indiana Conservation Officers are being assisted by Morgan County Sheriff Department, Martinsville Fire Department, Morgan County EMA, Green Township Fire, Brown Township Fire, Gregg Township Fire, Brooklyn Fire, Paragon Fire, Harrison Township Fire, and the Morgan County Coroner’s Office.