Accident Database

Report ID# 2342

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Man tells of harrowing rescue

ALGONQUIN – Dennis Moss looked toward the rushing water that could have killed him as a crane dipped its cables and hooks into the Fox River on Monday to recover his overturned kayak. Police closed part of the Algonquin Road bridge for about 15 minutes while the crane lifted the 15-foot-9-inch kayak from the Algonquin Dam below. Children playing in nearby Cornish Park stopped to watch as the kayak dangled vertically high above the water.

The operation required careful planning by officials with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who did not want others to enter the dangerous water. "It's not a very common occurrence," saidRichard Riedel, a conservation police officer with the IDNR.

Moss, 27, of Crystal Lake, said he had paddled his kayak near the dam Saturday afternoon to retrieve a soccer ball when the river's current caught his boat. Moss' friend, Ryan Rhordanz of Algonquin, tried to help, but he also was caught in the current. "I flipped over about three times and got back in the boat," said Moss, who was healthy Monday except for rope burns on his arms that he suffered during his rescue. "What was going through our heads was to hold onto the boats as long as we could until somebody could get us out." Moss said the current was so strong that it ripped off all of his and Rhordanz's clothes, leaving them with only life jackets. The water's noise was so loud that they could not hear nearby rescuers, Moss said.

"Those life jackets saved their lives," said Battalion Chief Joe Teson of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Department, who helped with the rescue. Moss was treated for hypothermia Saturday at Sherman Hospital in Elgin. He said his body temperature was in the 70s when he was pulled from the river, but rescuers offered blankets and hot chocolate that helped it return to normal. As Moss watched crews recover his kayak Monday, he said he would return to the water as soon as this weekend. "We'll probably put in over here this time," Moss said as he pointed away from the dam.

Photos showed an ocean kayak caught in the backwash of a 2' high low-head dam. The pair clearly did not recognise the danger. ccw

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