Boy slips, drowns in riverVictim was 15-year-old Eau Claire Memorial student
By: By Joe Knight, The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Superior Telegram
A 15-year-old male Memorial High School student drowned in the Chippewa River Saturday after slipping while walking to shore from an island near the Short Street and Clairemont Avenue bridges, authorities said.
A group of youths had been out to the island and were wading back to shore early Saturday evening on the Shawtown side of the river when the boy apparently slipped and was unable to get back up, according to reports from witnesses, Eau Claire police Sgt. Travis Quella said.
Police did not release the boy's name Saturday night pending notification of relatives.
"Most of the water in that area is shallow enough so you can walk, but at one point he slipped and fell and started to struggle in the water," Quella said. "After a short time he went under the water and never resurfaced."
Witnesses said the boy's friends tried to assist him, but they were unable to keep him from going underwater.
"The rocks are slippery there, and there's a pretty significant current, especially where he went into the water," Quella said.
Police and fire officials were called to the scene at about 7 p.m.
Six Eau Claire Fire Department crews participated in the search, which included two boats and four divers, said Dave Okas, fire battalion chief.
A diver found the boy about an hour after authorities were contacted.
Paramedics tried to resuscitate the boy, and he was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital where efforts to revive him continued. He was declared dead around 8:30 p.m.
The incident still is under investigation, Quella said. No alcohol, drugs or foul play are believed to involved, he said.
Knight can be reached at 830-5835, 800-236-7077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Copyright (c) 2009, The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services