Public Safety

Two tubers drown after going over dam on Turkey River

Two tubers drowned Monday after going over the Turkey River dam in Clermont, shown above. (The Gazette)
Two tubers drowned Monday after going over the Turkey River dam in Clermont, shown above. (The Gazette)

Two women drowned Monday afternoon after going over a Turkey River dam while tubing, authorities said.

Sharon Kahn, 64, and Vicki K. Hodges, 44, both of West Union, went over a dam in Clermont, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

At 3:40 p.m., the sheriff’s office received a report from someone who heard a cry for help from the tubers, Sheriff Marty Fisher said in an interview. Emergency crews initiated a rescue, performing live-saving efforts on the women before they were transported to Palmer Hospital in West Union. They were pronounced dead there.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Clermont Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Elgin Fire and EMS, Tristate Ambulance, Gundersen Air Ambulance, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa State Patrol.

The Iowa Department of Resources warns there are three dams on the Turkey River — including the one in Clermont.

“The circulating current immediately below each dam is extremely dangerous,” the agency wrote in its online guide to the Turkey River Water Trail.

The Iowa DNR counts over 200 low-head dams across the state. Many were built decades ago to create water recreation areas, provide some level of water management or to generate power.

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But low-head dams are dangerous to boaters, swimmers and tubers. Since 1900, they have led to at least 160 fatalities across the state.

Comments: (319) 398-8371; brooklyn.draisey@thegazette.com

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