Boat Recovery – Two fisherman out in Lake Altoona, WI ran into trouble and found themselves swimming for their lives. The waves picked up and flooded their boat. They struggled to get life jackets out and on by the time the boat filled with water and sank. A DNR warden, while on routine patrol of the county park, had noticed the lone boat on the lake. He looked away, but then noticed that the boat was no longer there. He called it in to the local fire rescue team. They rescued the two fishermen. Because they were lucky enough to get to their life jackets, they are alive today. The owner contacted a local guy to retrieve his boat, but he could not find it after two days searching the lake. The owner then contacted me. We went out and found it in 45 minutes. It was upside down in 12 feet of water. I had recruited some new help for this project: my cousin Greg, who lives the area, as well as Duane, from La Crosse. Together we were successful in rigging and flipping the boat over to be towed to shore. We then loaded it up on the owner’s trailer. The boat owner mentioned how tough it was to dig out and put on the life jackets in the heat of the moment. This was a good outcome. Please wear your life jackets when you are on the water! We never have had to look for someone that had their life jacket on.
Mark Graham Search
Mark’s fishing boat was reported to be running in circles in the middle of Little Lake Buttes des Mortes in Menasha, WI. On Saturday April 1st, we were notified through social media about the missing man from the previous Monday. After seeing they were unable to locate the man, I reached out to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and did not receive a return call. I then reached out to the Wisconsin DNR to assist and they welcomed our help.
Early Tuesday morning Dave Whitehouse, a Bruce’s Legacy Board Member and firefighter, and I traveled to Menasha. We met with local authorities and the Mark’s family. After 1 ½ hours of running sonar, we did locate a very promising image. The WI DNR then put their ROV (remote operated vehicle) on the image and verified that it was the subject. The Winnebago County Dive Team recovered the body a short time later.
We were pleased to have a member of the DNR and the Winnebago Sheriff’s Office deputy, on the boat with us while on the search. I hope that they are more likely to invite our skills for these types of searches in the future. The departments get bombarded from the public with offers to help in these situations. I have come to understand that it will not always be easy for municipalities to seek assistance, but for the welfare of the families it can be imperative to know when to we should work together.
Adam Clark Search
April 1st, Adam’s mother contacted us to search, a portion of the Mississippi River, for her son. His car was previously found, with no signs of Adam. They have exhausted land searches during the five weeks that he has been missing. On Sunday April 1st, Beth and I traveled to Minneapolis, MN. We arrived at Hidden Falls Boat Landing and met with Jay. Jay is affiliated with United Legacy, a group that has been conducting land searches and has offered to assist us. We searched the area of interest. As always in the Mississippi River, there are a lot of objects on the bottom. We found an object of interest. I knew this had to be checked out. The Hennepin County Water Patrol was conducting a shoreline search in the area, so we called them over. They agreed that is was a target of interest. They have an ROV (remote operated vehicle) and offered to check the target out. They assembled their team and came out, but had problems with their ROV and were unable to check the target. As it was getting late, we agreed to stay the night and to put our new ROV in, to check the target the next morning.
On Monday, we recruited one of Bruce’s Legacy’s Board Members, Josh Knutson to help. We met with the Water Patrol and went back to the search area. We located the target but found it to be a log, with a branch and weeds hanging on it. We felt we had searched to rest of the area of interest in the most thorough, but safe manner as possible.
This is an unwitnessed case, there are not many leads for anyone to go on. Searches can eliminate areas of possibility. I truly hope Adams shows up someday alive and that he just needed time away. For the family, I hope they can get answers soon.
***Adam was found April 8th by a tug boat operator on Saturday approximately 20 river miles from where his car was located. Our heart felt condolences go out to the family and friends of Adam.