Accident Database

Report ID# 3967

  • Other
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description


Authorities are warning people to stay off the DuPage River as two rescues have been made in the last two days.

WLS By Paul Meincke

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Authorities are warning people to stay off the DuPage River as two rescues have been made on the river in the last two days. It may look inviting, but the river is running high and running mean as a result of heavy rain and flooding.

Just downriver from where east branch meets west, three young men found themselves in a bit of a fix when their inflatable raft was punctured Wednesday afternoon. They were able to make their way to an island where a passerby saw them and called rescuers. Two of the boys were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) - one was not - but all are OK, though not particularly keen to talk about their misadventure.

"When the water is at these levels, including all the strainers and the curves, we just need to stay off the water during this period of time, it's deceiving," said Amy Scheller, Naperville Fire Department. The rescue comes on the heels of another Tuesday afternoon further upstream on the west branch of the DuPage on Naperville's riverwalk.

The river there is usually tame, often so shallow that kayaks have trouble navigating it, but heavy rains have caused the river to be rougher than usual. Three young men - none of them wearing PFD's - capsized. Two swam to the bank. One made it to a tree, where he held on until the fire department's water rescue team was able to tie a rescue boat to a high-line, after which they reached the young man in the tree. All three are expected to be OK.

"If they do insist on going on the river, we definitely recommend that they be trained and know what they're doing, survey the river before they get out there," said Naperville Fire Chief Andy Dina. "And by all means, put on a personal flotation device. But mainly, we try to discourage them from going on it at all." Experienced swift water enthusiasts know that this is not something to be messed with. Even if they had made it this far downstream, they would have encountered a bridge where water had completely filled out the bridge's underside. When rescue teams pulled the boys in the deflated raft out Wednesday, they also found a lonely kayak stuck along the bank. It apparently made it under the bridge after Tuesday's river ride went south.

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