A teenager and a 48-year-old Milford resident both drowned near a dam along the Huron River in Milford Township on Saturday, May 21, after the teen fell out of his canoe and the man tried to rescue him.
According to Sergeant Matthew Brumm of the Milford Police Department, the incident took place around 12:50 p.m. around the lower portion of the Huron River near the dam.
One canoe on the river was being paddled by 16-year-old John Przydatek of Harrison Township and a friend, also a 16-year-old male. According to Brumm, the teenagers were canoeing upstream, turned around and started heading toward the dam and into turbulent water.
The canoe was caught up in the current and overturned, and both teens were thrown into the river. One of them was able to get out of the water, but Przydatek was sucked into an area at the base of the dam.
Two children standing on the shore yelled for help, and 48-year-old Douglas Killingbeck of Milford answered the call by getting in his canoe and paddling to the area near the dam’s base. According to witnesses, in an attempt to help, Killingbeck jumped into the water after locating Przydatek and went under the water surface, but he didn’t resurface.
Both bodies were later recovered.
Brumm said the teenagers were not wearing life jackets, while Killingbeck was at the time of the incident.
Brumm said that generally the lower area of the river has been safe, but the water flow has recently increased because of heavy rain and an increase in the river’s water level. He also said there are signs posted warning people to stay in a safe area away from the dam because of water turbulence, and that life jackets should always be worn.