Agencies unite in search for bodies

This was the scene on Wednesday afternoon in the Rock River near the Oregon dam. (Photo by Brad Jennings)

Two missing since boat flipped near Oregon dam on Wednesday

OREGON – The body of one of the two men who went missing in the Rock River when their boat capsized near the dam in Oregon on Nov. 20 was located Thursday, but officials were unable to recover it.

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said Friday morning the body was located about a mile south of the dam in Oregon Thursday night. They tried to use a remotely operated vehicle and divers to recover the body, but the high flow of the current made recovery impossible, he said.

“The water was too fast, they couldn’t get to the bottom,” VanVickle said.

They also dragged the river in that spot but were not successful. On Friday morning, they started using sonar again on the river in search of the bodies.

The fishing boat was initially found at about 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 upside down on the west side of the river near the dam. 

VanVickle said a truck and trailer were found at Castle Rock which were used to haul the boat. He said officials have been in contact with the families, but no names were released by Friday morning.

The initial search included boats from the Oregon Fire Department and Dixon Fire Department. 

VanVickle said it is early in the investigation, so there is no clear answer as to how the boat capsized. But he said it might have gotten too close the dam and flipped over.

He also praised the response to the incident, noting that five counties were involved in the search the first day, and four the second.

“It’s just been a great team effort,” VanVickle said.


Search for bodies will continue tonight on Rock River

OREGON – Dive teams from Byron and Rochelle will be checking some “areas of promise” in the Rock River tonight as the search for the bodies of two men whose boat capsized near Oregon continues, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said during a press conference held just after 4 p.m. this afternoon at the Oregon Fire Department.
VanVickle said the teams will search tonight as conditions are expected to worsen.
“We are concerned with river conditions,” he said.
Boats with sonar located the promising locations to be searched. The boat apparently overturned Wednesday morning when it got too close to the dam in Oregon, but that is still under investigation, VanVickle said. He said the families of the men are being updated, but that no names are being released.


OREGON — A boat was found upside down in the Rock River below the dam near Conover Square in Oregon on Wednesday afternoon and area officials are still searching for the two people who they believe were in it.

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said rescuers pulled the boat to shore to make sure no one was under it and emergency diving personnel from around the area assisted in searching the river.

Officials were staging at Kiwanis Park.

A fisherman had reported the capsized boat shortly before noon on Wednesday.

A truck and boat trailer were found at a launch near Castle Rock State Park that matched the description of the owners of the boat.

VanVickle said drones were used in the search on Tuesday and he believes the boat may have drifted too close to the dam under current which caused it to flip.

VanVickle said authorities believe the two are dead and he is calling Thursday's search a recovery effort and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will also be helping in the investigation.

The names of the people suspected to have been in the boat are not being released at this time.


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