(Cedar Grove, Ind.) - A 15-year-old Cincinnati girl drowned during a rafting excursion on the Whitewater River in Franklin County Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after 1:00 p.m. the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department received a report of a teenage girl gone missing in a rural area of the Whitewater River near the town of Cedar Grove.
Emergency response personnel arrived conducting a methodical search of the river area downstream of the State Road 1 bridge. At approximately 2:40 p.m., the girl was located.
The victim has been identified as Shontel L. Wagoner-Dugar.
Preliminary information indicates Wagoner-Dugar, along with family and friends, had been boating along the Whitewater River and had pulled their rafts to shore and began to swim. For an unknown reason she began to struggle and disappeared under the surface of the river. Those with Wagoner-Dugar were not able to reach her and get her to shore.
Indiana Conservation Officers and the Franklin County Coroner’s Office are continuing to investigate the drowning.
Agencies responding to the incident were: Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Cedar Grove Fire Department, New Trenton Fire Department, Brookville Fire Department, Dearborn County Water Rescue, Franklin County EMS, Rescue 24, Indiana State Police, Franklin County Coroner and Indiana Conservation Officers.
"Although the recent drought conditions have left many of Indiana’s rivers and streams with low water levels, drop-offs, deep holes, underwater hazards and current are still a danger and precautions should continue to be taken while swimming or boating," said Indiana Conservation Officer Gary Catron.
When swimming, always use the buddy system and stay close enough to render aid should it be needed, Catron said. Life jacket use while swimming can add much needed buoyancy to counter fatigue even with experienced swimmers.