Accident Database

Report ID# 3096

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Near Drowning
  • Cold Water
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description

Tandem canoe capsized in hydraulic of low-head dam.

One person treated/released, one person in critical condition (3/23/2009)


GOSHEN — A Goshen man remains in critical condition after a canoeing accident Tuesday on the Elkhart River near the Goshen Dam. Goshen man critically injured in canoeing mishap The canoe with two men inside was pulled under by the backwash from the dam. One man rescued the other, who had been under water for some time. Emergency responders say this accident highlights the need to always be prepared on the water.

The accident happened Tuesday afternoon just below the Goshen Dam. That's when emergency crews say two men in a canoe apparently got too close. “They got caught up in it,” said Goshen Fire Battalion Chief Rick Kauffman. “It sucked their canoe down and unfortunately one young man is in critical condition in ICU right now — got pulled under water for at least five minutes.” Neither man was wearing a life jacket.

Paramedics were just a couple minutes away and spent 10 minutes reviving the victim. “The one patient was out of the water, he directed us to the other patient who was already pulled up on the shore,” said fireman Brian Brown. “The patient was not breathing and did not have a pulse and we started CPR. With our training we knew what we need to do.”

Goshen firefighters spend quite a bit of time training for water rescues. The fire department says when you are out on the water in a boat or canoe, there are a number of common sense safety tips you should keep in mind. “You need to have a good life jacket that fits you properly. You need to have a throwable [flotation device] in the boat. You need to have a paddle with a hook for retrieving gear, a dry bag, keys, wallet, cell phone for calling for help,” explained Kauffman. “Have all this secured in a box that’s water tight, with a first-aid kit and a change of clothes.” That’s survival gear that local fishermen like Bob Clarin take to heart. “I fish all over the Midwest,” he told WSBT News. “I fish up in Canada, out of pretty big boats. It’s not going to tip over; [but] I always have a life vest — always.” Nicholas Loewan, 25, was treated and released from the hospital.


Glen Schumacher, 24, who was under water the longest, is listed in critical condition at Goshen General.

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