Public reminded to stay clear of run of river dams
Illinois Conservation Police continue to investigate a fatal boating accident on the Rock River in which two subjects were operating their jet skis on the Rock River upstream of the Steel Dam on Sunday, July 7.
Witnesses report the subjects were operating along the top of the low head dam at approximately 4:30 p.m. and circling within 50 feet of the structure.
They were reportedly operating in an area between buoys marked “No Boats” and the dam. Witnesses advised the pair rode over the dam and attempted to operate back upstream and over the dam a second time.
The first operator (identity is being withheld at this time) was reportedly ejected from his jet ski and was thrown into the “boil” (circulating turbulent water) below the dam. The second operator (identified as Anthony K. Sovey - 42 of Cambridge, IL) entered the boil on his jet ski and attempted to rescue his friend. Sovey was also ejected from his jet ski and was able to cling to a partially submerged tree. Witnesses called 911 to report the incident.
Both jet ski operators were wearing life jackets. One operator was pulled under the water and is deceased. He was recovered downstream from the dam.
Sovey was rescued and was transported to an area hospital. Sovey was treated for minor injuries and was released.
Officers and rescue personnel from the Illinois Conservation Police, Milan Police Department, Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department, Rock Island City Fire Department, Blackhawk Fire Department, and Arsenal Fire crews responded to the scene. A MedForce Helicopter also responded to the area.
Members of the Backwater Gamblers Ski Team were also on scene and were instrumental in the rescue efforts.
Illinois Conservation Police continue to investigate the incident.