Man who died in Mad River jumped in to save younger brother

MAD RIVER TWP., Clark County — A Medway man who died of a presumed drowning Monday afternoon jumped into the Mad River to save his brother who had fallen in.

  • Victim identified as Dillon Persinger, 26
  • Cause, manner of death pending
  • The child made it safely out of water

UPDATE @ 4:00 p.m. (Sept. 5): The 10-year-old boy and Dillon Persinger were brothers, said Lt. Kristopher Shultz of the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

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The two were reportedly fishing at the river for hours before a strong water current pulled the boy into the river, Shultz said.

UPDATE @ 2:25 p.m. (Sept. 4):

Emergency calls to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office show how canoers and other Labor Day visitors to the Mad River sprang into action after a woman yelled for help to find a drowning man.

“There’s somebody that’s drowning. It’s a man who’s under the water,” said one man standing beneath the Lower Valley Pike bridge over the river.

He was one of the bystanders who helped guide a deputy to the scene.

“There’s a guy under the water. He’s not coming out. We cannot find him,” a woman told a dispatcher.

Bystanders had no information about the victim who had gone under before they jumped into action.

“We were just canoeing on the river and the lady was calling for help,” she said. “We’re looking for him. We’re walking the river. ... He’s not resurfacing. He’s been under for quite awhile,” the woman said, estimating it was possibly five minutes from the time of her call.

UPDATE @ 11:05 a.m. (Sept. 4):

A man who died after he jumped into the Mad River to save a young child who had fallen has been identified.

Dillon Persinger, 26, of Medway, died at the scene, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

UPDATE @ 7:15 p.m. (Sept. 3):

A man who jumped into the Mad River to save a young child who had fallen in has died in a presumed drowning.

Mad River Fire Chief Tim Wendling said the victim and a young juvenile were fishing on a rock when the child, described as a boy by witnesses, fell into the water.

“He went in to rescue that person and then went under himself,” Wendling said.

Neither was wearing a life jacket, he said.

The incident was reported as a possible drowning around 4:15 p.m., according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. The closest address to the river was in the 3700 block of Lower Valley Pike.

Bystanders rescued the child, and canoers eventually were able to find the man and pull him out.

Medics performed CPR after the man was pulled from the water. Rescuers, with the help of bystanders, took the victim across the river by canoe and up an embankment to a waiting CareFlight medical helicopter. Crews were unable to save the man, and he was pronounced dead about 6 p.m., Wendling said.

The man’s family has been notified and was on the scene, but the chief said he declined to release the man’s identity.

UPDATE @ 4:30 p.m.

Canoes and kayaks are in the Mad River this afternoon, and rescuers are awaiting a dive team following a report of a possible drowning.

According to reports, a juvenile was pulled out of the water but a man may still be missing.


Crews are responding to a report of a possible drowning this afternoon in the Mad River.

The incident was reported around 4:15 p.m. in the water off the 3700 block of Lower Valley Pike, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office dispatch.

According to initial reports, a man went under and possibly did not resurface.

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