Fishermen watch helplessly as woman drowns on Sac river
by Drew Douglas
Jun 21, 2015
CEDAR COUNTY, Mo. - The Cedar County Sheriff's Office says 30 year-old Ashley Brinkley of Niangua drowned Saturday at the Caplinger Mills dam on the Sac river. Almost every day for twenty years the bridge over the Caplinger Mills dam has been Mike Master's favorite fishing spot. "It's just the best fishing ever," says Masters. But Masters says Saturday the peaceful fishing spot was rocked by tragedy. Masters says Saturday the river was 10 feet above flood stage when dozens of people on the bridge watched helplessly as a woman and man went over the dam in inner tubes. "They were screaming, I mean they were all just in terror just seeing that happen," Masters says.
Masters says the river pulled the man down river where he was able to get to some branches and wait for help, but the woman was held under by the undercurrents at the base of the dam and drowned. "Once you get caught in that, it's just like a washing machine, it just keeps turning you around and around," says Masters. Masters says the woman's body floated down to where the man could hold her, and a kayaker brought them both to shore further downstream where Masters and others tried to help. "I went down a half mile and helped pull her out, and give her CPR and it just didn't work," Masters says he prayed she would cough up the water, but she was unresponsive.
Masters is still shaken. "Not a good sight, something you don't forget," Masters pauses, "I'll be seeing that girl for a long time." Masters says the worst part is that this is not the first time he's seen this happen in the same spot. "Happens about every couple of years, people just don't know how dangerous it really is," Masters says. Masters says he is desperate to prevent the next drowning. "You just feel so helpless because you can't go out there or you're going to be in the same situation, and we try to throw things to them, but it just never reaches," says Masters. Masters says he wants to get the word out about how dangerous the water near the dam can be, and he wonders if signs should be posted or if it should be made illegal to float or swim upstream from the dam.
The man who was with Ashley Brinkley was taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The Cedar County Sheriff's office did not release his name.
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