20-year-old Mo. man drowns in Current River

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GRANDIN, Mo. -- An Ellsinore, Mo., man became the third area man to drown within a week on the waterways of Southeast Missouri.

The Daily American Republic reported Michael Moss, 20, drowned Sunday morning while attempting to swim across Current River at Bay Nothing near Grandin.

Moss and the five others in his group woke up and went out to the river at about 10 a.m., said Missouri State Water Patrolman David Nelson, District 4's public information officer.

"The victim immediately jumped in and tried to swim across the river," said Nelson, who described the river as being about 100 yards wide. "(He) got about half way across the river and started having trouble."

Moss, he said, yelled for help and went under.

"The others in the group were non-swimmers; they tried to wade out there, but were unable to," Nelson said.

Someone in the group, Nelson said, went into the campground to get help "from a swimmer, but he was unable to locate him.

"A boat came by and was able to locate (Moss) and made recovery by free diving."

Recovery, Nelson said, happened at about 10:30 a.m. at a location approximately 50 yards from shore in about 10 feet of water. The current, he said, was swift at that location.

Three days earlier, a 25-year-old Patterson, Mo., man drowned while swimming with friends in Big Creek in Sam A. Baker State Park at about 7:30 p.m.

Nelson said Joshua Dement and the others in his party, including some children, were in the water.

Dement, Nelson said, was snorkeling in about 10 feet of water. He described it as a "big hole of water. It's pretty calm."

While it was unknown how long Dement was under water, it may have been as long as 10 or 15 minutes before anyone realized something was wrong, Nelson said.

"(The others) weren't paying attention (to Dement); they were paying attention to the kids," Nelson said.

Upon realizing Dement was missing, his friends pulled him out and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Nelson said.

Park staff and rangers responded and took over CPR before Dement was transported to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

According to Nelson, blood was drawn from both Dement and Moss for toxicology analysis to determine if alcohol was a contributing factor in the men's deaths.

In an unrelated incident, a tow-boat operator recovered the body of a missing Caruthersville, Mo., Tuesday from the Mississippi River.

At about 3 p.m. June 6, two men were boating on the Mississippi about seven miles north of Caruthersville.

"They pulled up to an island called Lyle's Island; it's on the Tennessee side/east side of the river, but it is a Missouri island," Nelson explained. "They pulled their boat on the back side of the point to get the boat out of the main current of the river."

The men, Nelson said, were seated on a log watching the river and occasionally would look to make sure their boat still was there.

"At one point, they looked and the boat was drifting away," Nelson said. "They both jumped in to try to retrieve the boat, and the victim was not able to get to it and was caught by the current and swept down river."

The other man, Nelson said, was able to get to the boat, which he "run up and down the river trying to find him and was unable to find him."

Nelson said emergency responders from multiple agencies began looking for the man, who subsequently was found floating two days later at Cottonwood Point, about 15 miles south of where he went under.

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