Accident Database

Report ID# 858

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

62 year-old Paul Butzen was paddling with his adult son on the Sheboygan River near Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin when they encountered a man who had attempted to run Riverbend Dam. According to the Sheboygan Press, the man swam free, but his kayak was still caught in the hydraulic. Mr. Butzen and his son, who portaged the dam, offered to help recover it. As they approached the boat from downstream they were pulled into the hydraulic and capsized. The two other men quickly washed free, but Mr. Butzen was held in the hydraulic for some time before washing out. Police and firefighters from nearby Kohler, Wisconsin found him floating face down in the river. They pulled him in, but resuscitation efforts failed.

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