JANESVILLE (WKOW) — Boy Scout officials are reacting to the death Saturday of a Janesville teen during a canoe outing on the Yahara River. Grace V.A. Gordon, 14, died Saturday when the canoe she was in overturned on the Yahara River in the town of Fulton.
“This is a terribly painful time for our Scouting family. We are sad to confirm the death of one of our youth members following a water-related incident,” Alex Tyms, Scout Executive/CEO, Glacier’s Edge Council, Boy Scouts of America was quoted as saying in a statement. “We offer our deepest condolences to the Scout’s family, and we will provide support to them in any way that we can.” “Please join us in keeping all those affected in your thoughts and prayers,” Tyms said.
According to a police report, multiple people had fallen out of their canoes in the river’s bend near Murwin Park and were calling for help, stating that a girl was submerged under the water. A state trooper entered the water and swam out to the victim and another teen, who was trying to rescue her.
Officials say the trooper and the teen struggled to free the girl who was pinned underneath a capsized canoe and a submerged log. Authorities say once additional help arrived, the girl was freed and taken to a hospital where she later passed away. The remaining members of the party were rescued by boat and taken ashore.
A forensic autopsy, completed by the Rock County Medical Examiner’s Office said that preliminary results of that autopsy support an accidental drowning death, a release from the Medical Examiner’s Office said. “This death remains under investigation by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and the Rock County Medical Examiner’s Department,” the release said. “Additional testing is underway at this time.”
The State Patrol confirmed to 27 News Monday that everyone canoeing Saturday had life jackets on, including Gordon. Her brother was also swept away by the water, but he survived. Gordon’s brother tells 27 News they were on a trip with a local Scout troop.
Boy Scouts of America policy states at least one adult on an aquatics trip needs to have specialized, BSA training. Tyms has yet to comment on whether any adult Saturday had the required training.
“We have talked to some people…canoers, kayakers and they commented on how crazy this particular corner is on the Yahara River, with the obstructions, the current,” Rock County Sheriff’s Boating Recreation Deputy Chris Krahn says, who also helped in the water rescue Saturday
Krahn also says just before the capsizing of two canoes with the Boy Scouts trip, four people in two other canoes made it to land after deciding it was too treacherous, and became eyewitnesses to the subsequent capsizing.
Krahn says having the proper safety equipment in paddle sports can be augmented by additional training. “We would recommend you go somewhere with less current, a small local lake, or where you could walk and maybe practice these techniques, re-boarding, canoeing, kayaking and get familiar with your equipment before you come out,” Krahn says.
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office now recommends paddlers stay away from the Yahara River, the Sugar River and some other bodies of water where water levels are high. Krahn and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller say only general, boating best-practices safety announcements were released to the public prior to Saturday. “We knew water levels were up, it varies across the state but we had nothing specific to the Yahara,” Schaller says. Krahn says The National Weather Service posts current water levels of area rivers on its web site.
A GoFundMe effort was set up to help the family of Grace Gordon. You can donate or learn more here
ROCK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV)-- Authorities have identified a 14-year-old girl who died after a canoe capsized in the Yahara River on Saturday afternoon.
The Rock County Medical Examiner’s Office said Grace V.A. Gordon of Janesville was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later. Preliminary results of an autopsy support an accidental drowning death.
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were dispatched to the Murwin Park area in Fulton Township for a report of canoes overturned in the water around 2:50 p.m.
A Wisconsin State trooper saw two victims were in a bend in the river and were calling for help, stating that a 14-year-old girl was submerged under the water. Unable to help from the shore, the trooper entered the water and swam out to the victim, and her brother, who was trying to rescue her.
The trooper and the brother — whose age was not given by authorities — struggled to free the girl who was pinned under a capsized canoe and a submerged log. Once additional law
enforcement arrived, the girl was taken out of the water.
This death remains under investigation by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and the Rock County Medical Examiner’s Department.
-year-old died at hospital after 4
canoes overturned in Rock County; 7 others rescued
PM, MAY 25, 2019, BY KATIE DELONG, Fox
ROCK COUNTY — A 14-year-old girl died at the
hospital after a canoe rescue in Murwin Park in Rock County Saturday afternoon,
May 25. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol,
shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday, a report came in regarding multiple subjects in
the water after falling out of canoes in Murwin Park.
The victims were in a bend in the river,
calling for help, indicating the 14-year-old girl was under the water. A trooper swam out to the victim and her
brother, who was trying to rescue her. They struggled to free her, as she was
pinned under a capsized canoe and a submerged log. With additional help, the girl was freed and
taken to shore, where life-saving measures were initiated. She was then taken
to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. The other individuals in the water were
rescued by boat and taken ashore.
An initial release from the Rock County
Sheriff’s Office said there were four canoes overturned in the water — which
was fast moving with a strong current.
Seven people were rescued, the sheriff’s
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office advised
against canoeing, kayaking or other paddle sports on the Yahara River, Badfish
Creek, Turtle Creek and Sugar River due to high water and extremely swift
current. It is also very important to wear life vests or flotation devices when
out on the water.
14-year-old girl dies after canoe capsizes
in Rock County, 7 others rescued
Updated: 3:50 PM CDT May 26, 2019
SOURCE: Rock County Sheriff's Office
FULTON, Wis. — A teenager has died after
being rescued Saturday while canoeing in the Yahara River in Rock County. The
Wisconsin State Patrol said a 14-year-old girl drowned after a canoe she was in
The Sheriff's Office said it was called to the
Murwin Park area for a report of overturned canoes with people in the water.First responders went into the Yahara River to
rescue multiple people who were clingi ng to logs and yelling for help. Four
canoes were overturned in the water. The water was fast-moving with a strong
current. They rescued seven people and lifesaving efforts were administered to
the 14-year-old girl, who was pinned under a submerged log. She later died at a
hospital. Her name has not been released.