BETHEL TWP., Miami County — UPDATE @ 6:21 p.m. (Sept. 9): Larry Bolden, 71, of Englewood has been identified as the victim recovered from the Great Miami River on Wednesday following a Tuesday night boating accident in Miami County.
Bolden, another adult and a child were fishing when the current forced their small boat into a fixed object, which caused all of them to fall overboard, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The water rescue was initiated a short time after the other adult and child were found walking along the river. They were wearing life jackets. It’s not clear whether Bolden, found Wednesday afternoon, was wearing one when he was found 2 miles south of the state Route 571 bridge.
Conditions on the river “drastically deteriorated” in a 24-hour period because of the heavy rains Monday night, Bethel Twp. Fire Chief Andy Ehrhart told News Center 7′s Monica Castro, noting the river in the area of the crash in Bethel Twp. rose over 7 feet from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday.
“The river was dangerous. Even an experienced boat operator would have had trouble navigating that river,” Ehrhart said.
The hazardous conditions, which included flooding along the river banks, also hampered the rescue operation, he said.
“We don’t know the full circumstances with the boat overturning," the chief said. “We just know that somehow it did overturn.”
The effort turned into a recovery operation late Tuesday night after a search of several hours did not locate the victim. The search, led by ODNR, resumed at 9 a.m. Wednesday and included a volunteer search-and-rescue team and the Tipp City Fire Department.
Miami County Sheriff’s Lt. Todd Tennant said the search began about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday at the state Route 571 bridge in Miami County.
One search group went to the Ross Road bridge, south of an area behind Cliffside Golf Course in Tipp City where the boat is believed to have encountered trouble. The second group, which included Miami County Sheriff’s deputies -- using two drones -- gathered at the Taylorsville Dam at Taylorsville MetroPark in Vandalia.
A helicopter from the Ohio State Highway Patrol was brought in as well.
Three sets of boats from area fire/rescue departments were put on the water between state Route 571 and the area behind the golf course off state Route 202. Those boats, from Butler Twp., Huber Heights and Tipp City, were pulled from the water about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday because of darkness.
Tuesday’s search officially ended about 11 p.m., Ehrhart said.
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