Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

May 12, 2014

Mason man dies in Little Wabash River

EFFINGHAM — A Mason man was declared dead after trying to retrieve a loose boat in the Little Wabash River Sunday.

Effingham County Coroner Duane Guffey said in a news release that a witness saw Andrew T. Donsbach, 26, of Mason, enter the river in an effort to retrieve the boat. Guffey pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

An autopsy performed Monday determined that Donsbach drowned.

Terry Trueblood, commander of the Effingham County Dive-Rescue Team, said Donsbach was apparently overcome by a swift river current south of 300th Avenue, which is north of the Effingham-Clay county line.

"It wasn't depth that was the issue, it was the current," Trueblood said. "It is highly recommended not to enter flood or swift water.

"Even wearing a life jacket is not a guarantee of safety due to the many trees, debris and other items floating in a river."

Guffey said divers were back at the scene Monday to recover the boat as well as measure the current, determine distances and recover other evidentiary items.

The coroner's office and the Effingham County Sheriff's Department are investigating the incident. The dive team was joined at the scene by firefighters from Watson, Shumway and Effingham.

Bill Grimes may be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes.

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