of drowning victim
in Teton River
By Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — The body of a Brigham Young
University-Idaho student who drowned in the
Teton River was found Monday morning. Thomas Calvin Willie, 21, had been missing since Friday, June
14. The Malad man was floating with a group of friends near Monkey Rock when
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries said his body became caught near a dam
where the rapids are particularly strong. Jean-Luc
Lazoore, a BYU-Idaho sophomore, was one of the 10 others floating with Willie.
He told the BYU-Idaho Scroll that
the river appeared safe and calm the entire way until they saw the diversion
Another group member and Willie’s best friend, Robert Wray,
exited the water to examine the drop. Wray then warned the group they should
get out of the water to avoid the dam. “By that time, most of us were able to get out,” Lazoore said.
“Some of us were really struggling to get out on time. The water was starting
to pick up … but Cal was already too close.”
Rescue crews have spent over a week looking for Willie’s body.
Specific details of where he was located on the river have not been released.
Swift water team joins
Take caution near diversion dams
By: Ariel Schroeder
Posted: Jun 15, 2019
ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE: 6/17/19
2:50 p.m. The Bingham and Bonneville County Swift Water Rescue team
joined the search for Cal Willie, 21, of Malad Monday. Willie fell off of an
inner-tube during a float trip on the Teton River Friday.
Rescuers planned to ease back water levels and
reduce flows on the river in an attempt to reduce turbulence near a diversion
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries said it
is possible the man's body will not be found for another 10 to 12 days. The
search will likely be scaled back on Tuesday.
The man's family was on the scene Monday as
search efforts intensified.
The incident prompted a wider warning from
Fremont County Emergency Management Monday. The office called low-head
dams a "drowning machine" because the water spilling over the dam
creates such a dangerous hydraulic effect. Re-circulating currents below
such dams can trap and drown a victim, even if they are wearing a life jacket.
UPDATE 6/16/19 4:33
P.M.: Fremont County Sheriff
Len Humphries has confirmed to Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News
3 the identity of the man they're searching for in the Teton River.
They are searching for 21-year-old Cal Willie
of Malad, who is a BYU-Idaho student. They say he was tubing on the river with nine
friends on Friday. They were not aware there was a diversion dam
on the river. When the
group saw the dam, they tried to get out. Nine of the friends made it out,
but Willie did not.
Teams of close to 20 people from Fremont
County Search and Rescue as well as Bonneville County have been trying to find
him. The Sheriff's Office believes Willie's body
may be trapped in the severe undertow created by the dam. Sheriff Humphries says the search effort has
been hindered because of the dangerous water conditions.
Search crews will be joined tomorrow by the
swift water rescue team from Bingham and Bonneville County because the water is
too dangerous to send divers in now.
The river has gone up more than a foot since
UPDATE 6/16/19 3:25
County is assisting the Fremont County Sheriff's office in their search.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Fremont County Sheriff's Office and
search and rescue are looking for a body in the Teton River.
The Sheriff's Office said that two people were
stranded in the river and later rescued by emergency responders on Friday
Crews are still searching for a 21-year-old
man on Saturday. He was part of that same group rescued. The Sheriff's
Office said he went over a diversion dam and got caught in the undertow. The
fast-moving water swept him away.