Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

State News

June 9, 2014

Diver recovers teen's body at dam

EDINBURGH (AP) — A diver recovered the body of a 17-year-old boy from the churning waters at the base of a central Indiana dam Sunday while two other teenagers who were on the swimming outing with him remained in critical condition.

The body of Jason Moran of Franklin was recovered Sunday morning from the Big Blue River, Indiana Conservation Officer Lt. Bill Browne said. It was found near the spot where he was last seen Friday at the base of the dam.

The water at the dam had receded enough Sunday that divers felt it was safe to attempt a search of an area just below the dam that had been too treacherous Friday and Saturday, Browne said.

“The water level was low enough for us to get a diver in the water,” Browne told The Indianapolis Star.

Moran and four other Franklin Community High School students were swimming about 20 yards upriver from the dam when one of them — 16-year-old Sarah McLevish of Morgantown — was swept over and became trapped in the waters below.

Moran and three others in the group swam over the dam about 30 miles south of Indianapolis to try to rescue the girl.

Two of the teens made it out safely. But Moran vanished, and McLevish and 16-year-old Michael Chadbourne had to be pulled from the waters. McLevish and Chadbourne remained in critical condition Sunday at an Indianapolis hospital.

The stretch of river above the dam is a popular swimming and fishing site even though such low-head dams are considered dangerous because they sit low, creating turbulent waters, Conservation Officer Jet Quillen has said.

Guidance counselors were planning to be at the high school Sunday evening to help students and others needing support, officials with the Franklin Community Schools said in a statement.

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