Duck hunters flip boat on Mississippi

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Three men were treated for body temperatures that were approaching hypothermic levels after a boating accident on the Missisippi River near Bagley, Nov. 24, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

At 2:50 p.m., a boating accident on the Mississippi River, somewhere between Glen Haven and Bagley, was reported to Grant County Dispatch. The information received was that a boat with multiple hunters in it had flipped and that the hunters were on land, but, although they could see the railroad tracks, they were uncertain of their location.

Multiple agencies responded to assist in the search. Information was then received that the hunters had made it back to the River of Lakes boat landing and were requesting EMS. A Grant County Sheriff’s deputy responded there and learned that there were three men in the boat.

The boat’s owner Paul Ketterer, 62, of Fennimore; Ryne Jackley, 28, of Bagley; and Blake Evans, 36, of Dodgeville had put the boat in at Jay’s Landing. They went south from there along the “state line channel” and were about one mile south of the landing when they ran into rougher water. Ketterer said he had backed off of the throttle due to the south wind and rough water. He said he slowed to maybe 5 miles per hour. When he backed off the throttle, the bow of the boat dropped and the boat suddenly started to take on a large amount of water. This pushed the bow further down, causing the boat to stop suddenly and flip, end-over-end, the men described to authorities.

All three men were thrown from the boat. They said they were about 30 to 40 yards from shore when the incident happened. They had to swim toward shore as it was too deep to touch bottom. At about 20 yards from shore, the three men said they could touch bottom and were able to walk to shore.

Another duck hunter was boating nearby and saw the men. Jackley and Evans went back out to their capsized boat with that hunter, as Evans’ dog was trapped under the boat. The men were able to free the dog and get it into the boat they were in. All three men, and the dog, were then brought back to Jay’s Landing by the other hunter. The men all had their own vehicles at Jay’s Landing. They could hear sirens and decided, since they did not have cell phone service, to come to River of Lakes boat landing. EMS and First Responders went to that location, where all three men were treated for body temperature issues. All three men refused transport by EMS. Two of them were transported by private vehicle to an area hospital for treatment and evaluation.

The boat, a 14-foot, flat bottom boat with a 35 HP Go Devil motor, was recovered by the Bagley Fire Department and Federal Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement.

Agencies that responded to this incident were the Glen Haven Fire Department, Glen Haven First Responders, Bagley Fire Department, Bagley First Responders, West Grant EMS, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (Federal Game Warden), and mutual aid was requested from the Guttenberg (Iowa) Fire Department for a boat and the Grant County Emergency Management Office for a drone.

None of the men were wearing personal flotation devices when the incident occurred, although they were in the boat at the time. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is handling the investigation into the incident.

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