(Connersville, Ind.) - Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating the drowning of a Connersville man in the Whitewater River.
The victim, Michael Wayne Day was swimming in the river in Connersville with friends when he struggled briefly before disappearing under the surface.
Those friends called 911 at about 12:37 p.m. Eighteen minutes later, Day was located and pulled from the river by Fayette County EMS. The 45-year-old was rushed to Fayette Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“Witnesses advised that Day was attempting to swim across the river when he went under and briefly came back to the surface, then quickly struggled before going under” Conservation Officer Brandon Shoults said. “At first, his friends thought he was joking but when they came to his rescue, they couldn’t find him and it was too late.”
Officers say alcohol was a factor in the drowning. The continuing investigation will help shed light as to how much of a role it played.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation.
“Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat. When swimming, always use the buddy system and stay close enough to render aid should it be needed. Life jacket use while swimming can add much needed buoyancy to counter fatigue even with experienced swimmers,” said Conservation Officer Gary Catron.
Agencies responding to the incident were Fayette County EMS, Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, Connersville Police Department, Indiana Conservation Officers, Rescue 21 and Everton dive team.