Couple rescued from disabled boat

A Seymour couple were pulled from their disabled boat Sunday afternoon after it became stuck on the Rockford Dam on the East Fork White River north of Seymour.

After being pulled to shore, Carl Dean Bottorff, 52, and Mechelle Elena Bottorff, 43, were taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour for evaluation and treatment of mild hypothermia by Jackson County Emergency Medical Services personnel.

Conservation Officer Robert Klakamp said in a news release that the initial investigation showed the couple were fishing in a Ranger bass boat north of the dam when their trolling motor lost power.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Officer Dustin Steward, who was sent to the scene at 2:08 p.m., said when he arrived, the front end of the boat was slamming into the dam and taking on water.

Steward and County Reserve Officer Joey Francis were able to use a throw bag to reach the boat and pull it ashore so the Bottorffs could get out of it.

The boat then went over the dam.

It took a couple of attempts, but the Bottorffs eventually were able to grab the throw bag and tie a rope to the boat so rescue workers could pull it about 50 feet to a concrete wall, Steward said.

The two were very wet and cold and unable to walk on their own, so they were taken from the boat one at a time and sent up a line of officers to an awaiting ambulance, Steward said.

The couple said they had no time to start the boat’s main engine after the trolling motor stopped working, Steward said.

The boat then went over the first part of the dam and became stuck.

Klakamp said the two had life jackets, which are required by law, but were not wearing them at the time of the incident.

He said conservation officers encourage everyone to wear their life jackets and always be aware of the dangers when operating a watercraft near or around any type of dam.

Steward, Francis and Klakamp were assisted by county reserve officers Brad Barker and Scott Davis, Brownstown Police Department officers Joe Kelly and John Long, Indiana State Police troopers Chris Lockman and Bryce Harris and Seymour Fire Department.