June 4, 2015
Last Sunday, two young men from the Bloomington area went kayaking in the Mackinaw River. We had quite a bit of rain last week and the river was running high and fast. The area they went in is near Congerville, about 15 miles northwest of my home.
All the facts have not been revealed, but one of the young men overturned. It is reported he was seen climbing to shore, but he has not been found. The authorities believe he may have gone back into the water to retrieve the kayak. They have not identified the other kayaker or what he did to help.
For four days, the search has been in progress by land, air and water. Trained searchers have covered more than 330 acres and boat teams have searched more than five miles down stream. A helicopter with thermal sensor equipment checked 18 miles of the river. There have been no clues found from all these searches.
Today, Yuma and I decided to try our hand in the search. At 10:30, we headed up hwy 150 past the wind farm toward the small town of Carlock.
Carlock has a population of a little over 550 and is on the road to Congerville.
Congerville is even smaller. No real town, just a farming community on the railroad tracks with around 400 people.
Went through Congerville and came to the Mackinaw River about two miles west of the village. Right before the bridge was the search team headquarters at a farm house.
I stopped there and talked with one of the search team to see what I could do. While there, a helicopter came in and landed.
The number of searchers has dropped in numbers. They asked if we would go about five miles south to the Mackinaw River Conservation area and keep a watch at the area canoes and kayaks enter the river. Off we went, heading under the railroad tracks and down the road heading for our search area.
Following the signs, we finally reached the small bridge over the river. Yuma and I walked onto the bridge and searched the fast moving and swollen river in both directions
We then continued on to the canoe access area.
Yuma and I watched the river for several hours until our replacements came. I wish I could say the young man was found today, but unfortunately another day without a clue as to where he is. The river level continues to drop and I fear that soon it will give up his location.
See you later.