This story was just posted on the National Park Service’s Web site. It tells a tragic accident all because a fish took a rod overboard and the anglers were not wearing lifejackets.
The Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is run by the Park Service.
Roger Dudley, 67, and a friend headed out from the Seven Bays marina area in their boat to go trout fishing around midday on Aug. 25. They were trolling at just over a mile an hour when Dudley got a bite. The fish pulled his pole overboard and he immediately jumped overboard in an attempt to recover it.
After a few moments, Dudley, who was not wearing a lifejacket, told his friend that he needed help and began struggling in the water. His friend jumped into the water, also without a lifejacket, and soon found himself in trouble, with their boat floating away. He was able to get back onboard, though, and attempted to throw a rope to Dudley. Dudley was unable to reach it and soon stopped struggling and went under.
After hearing calls for help, passing boaters attempted to pull Dudley from the water. Efforts to do so proved unavailing, so a rope was tied to him and he was pulled back into the marina. One of the passengers on that vessel began CPR immediately after getting him to shore.
Rangers, local sheriff’s deputies, ambulance personnel and Medstar paramedics soon arrived on scene and took over care. They were unable to revive him, though, and he was pronounced dead after about 90 minutes of resuscitation efforts. There was no throwable personal floatation device on board the vessel, and other lifejackets were stored in an area not readily accessible for use in an emergency situation. Dudley was in the water for less than five minutes before he drowned. The weather and wake conditions were calm at the time of the incident.
Submitted by Adam Kelsey, Acting Chief Ranger