The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 31, 2012

Capsized boat imperils hunters on Grand Lake

By Jeff Lehr
news@joplinglobe.com

LANGLEY, Okla. — Two men from Grove are being credited with helping to save the life of a fellow duck hunter Saturday on Grand Lake.

The Grand River Dam Authority police said Harvey Erwin, of Claremore, and Josh Pridemore, of Tulsa, were hunting about 7 a.m. Saturday near Rabbit Island in the Horse Creek arm of the lake when their flat-bottom boat capsized.

Both men reportedly became immersed in the lake. Pridemore was able to swim to shore, but Erwin could not and was forced to cling to the side of the boat in an estimated 10 to 12 feet of water with a temperature of 41 degrees, police said.

Two other hunters in another boat, Curtis Tate and Winston Connor, heard the men calling for help and came to their aid.

Police said Tate and Connor tried to pull Erwin out of the water, but he had been immersed long enough in the frigid water that his legs would no longer move. They were forced to pull him into shallow water and to a nearby ramp.

Erwin and Pridemore appeared to recover fully from the experience once they reached shore and reportedly refused medical treatment after the rescue.

GRDA police said the men were fortunate given the cold weather and the dangers often encountered in winter boating. Heavy winter clothing weighs a person down and can inhibit movement in water, especially with the shock to the body that frigid water causes.