Two men rescued from capsized canoe on Wabash River


Members of the Lafayette Fire Department pulled two men from the Wabash River Sunday night after their canoe capsized in fast water.

DNR identified the men as Brandon Skiles, 18, from Rossville and Benjamin Cox, 23 of West Lafayette.

A 911 call came in just after 8:20 p.m. from a person on the John T. Myers pedestrian bridge in downtown.  The caller reported seeing a canoe occupied by two people overturn in the flooded river.  The called said people in a second canoe were trying to help the men in the water, but they soon passed out of sight.

Indiana Conservation Officers and members of the Tippecanoe County Dive Team launched boats from Fort Ouiatenon to search for the two men originally with the overturned boat.

Skiles and Cox were located by the firefighters under a bridge and helped out of the water. The second canoe with the three occupants was able to paddle to Shamrock Park in Lafayette.

Officers talked to the five canoeists and determined that the men started on the Tippecanoe River at Springboro. The first canoe struck an underwater obstruction near one of the bridges and overturned.

The second canoe attempted to help the two in the water but the fast current made it impossible to navigate the canoe with the two holding on. The two in the water were then able to swim toward shore.

Everyone involved was evaluated by Tippecanoe County EMS and refused medical treatment.

All five were wearing life jackets.

Indiana Conservation Officers are urging everyone to stay out of the floodwaters. Regardless of your swimming or boating ability, the unpredictable fast current and underwater obstructions are hazardous.