Emergency personnel rescued one boater and found the body of another after their separate personal watercraft went over the Milan Steel Dam on the Rock River about 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“When we got here, we found out that the watercraft had gone over the steel dam,” said Deputy Chief Ike Sederstrom of the Moline Fire Department.

The man, who was rescued about 6:10 p.m., was taken to a hospital in good condition, said Moline Fire Battalion Chief Paul Hoffeditz. The man was holding on to a log in the “boil,” or the churned-up water just past the rollers, he said.

"That's the only thing that kept him going," Hoffeditz said. "He was hanging on for dear life."

A Rock Island Arsenal crew came upstream with their boat. "They launched from the arsenal, and came down the Mississippi past the mouth of the Rock," he said. "We needed a boat downstream," Hoffeditz said. "You can't pull a person over the dam, because they'd be ripped from limb to limb."

Emergency crews first planned to pull the man free of the boil downstream, but the arsenal boat couldn't get into position for that because of the height of the water and their boat. Emergency workers on that boat could see the other man's body, still with its personal flotation device.

Crews then used the Backwater Gamblers boat, using a 300-foot section of rope and tying multiple buoyancy devices to it. The rescue rope was guided to the survivor.

"We floated the buoyancy devices and the rope down to him," Hoffeditz said.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police continues to investigate the incident, Hoffeditz said. A Medforce helicopter helped with the rescue to sweep the area, he said.

The original emergency call came into the Milan Police Department, which dispatched the Blackhawk Fire Protection District, which then called Moline for assistance.

(10) comments


That's the same river the DNR has told people to stay off, right? Since folks are so eager to ignore the warnings, we should be sending them the bill for the rescue. Why should taxpayers have to pay for someone's else's stupidity.


That is being done in some situations. I thought the river was closed to recreational traffic. I know that the DNR has warned about dangerous high water conditions. Lots of debris and logs in the water, being on a personal watercraft is pretty dangerous, but I don't know that the river is closed for sure. There is a piece elsewhere on this site that says the Backwater Gamblers are adding shows this week. If they are doing shows the river must not be closed. They paid a huge price already, I don't think we should bill them.


Modakr. Maybe one red. Not to sure. I think he was maybe mid 20s early 30s.not 100 percent.


That's too bad. Anyone knows who boats on the rock that the steel dam is dangerous. There are warning signs for a reason. Prayers go out to the victims family. Axilracing, did you happen to see what color both jet skis were by chance? Or approx age of The men?


Yes very sad. I was there. And it was very devastating to see him holding on for dear life and I could not help him. I couldn't leave until he was rescued. Sadly I had to watch him struggle for about 2hrs while the rescue people tried to figure something out. I and a lot of people were saying to tie a rope to boat on top and send rope life equipment down to him then get to shore. As I was very disappointed in the effort they were doing and even a cop said this is ridiculous that the other side wasn't very rushing. By the time they figured to try the rope trick it actually only took 15mins or so to get him out. I am very thankful they did get him out but think he struggled longer than he needed to.


Amen davenportchick -

My prayers are with the families


Neither here nor there now, a person lost their life. No one in any craft on water should be near ANY dam. How many fisherman get "too close" to the dams, the Rock and especially the dam on the Mississippi (Davnport-Rock Island) every year and have to be rescued? Usually fishing and too many beers and then oops they're in trouble, and calling for help. And that includes LOCALS who aren't that bright.
They have warned people repeatedly on tv and the papers this whole past week to stay OFF the rivers due to the flooding and the currents and debris as it is still not safe, but no one listens, and this is what can happen. They think "it won't happen to me". But it did, and it is a sad situation. Until common sense prevails, these needless accidents will continue to happen. Now instead of enjoying a holiday week, someone has lost a member of their family and his/her friend has lost a friend. That in itself will be hard to live with after surviving. Their families need support during this sad time, not insults whether they're locals or not.


Oh, cut it out. It wasn't an "insult". You are one of those who are always looking for an excuse to be offended. I merely posited that a local person should know better than to be there while the water is this high. Get over yourself, you aren't immaculate.


I agree with you. Its unfortunate and my thoughts are with everyone involved but when are people going to take responsibility. People drowing lately and rescuing boats from the rivers would be a lot less if they listened to the many warnings out there. That's all that's been on every news feed out there. STAY OFF THE RIVERS, ITS DANGEROUS!!!!!! THE MISSISSIPPI IS NO JOKE REGARDLESS OF ANY EXPERIENCE YOU MAY HAVE. They don't warn for nothing


Surely they aren't locals, doesn't everyone know about that dam by now? And there are warning signs.

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