Des Moines River Rescue

OTTUMWA – On Monday, October 8th, 2018 at approximately 7:05 p.m. the Ottumwa Fire Department responded to the Des Moines River on a report of a boat in the river that had lost power and was floating toward the Ottumwa Water Works hydro plant.


The Ottumwa Fire Department immediately responded with two rescue boats and fire department staff. Upon arrival, one boat with two firefighters made contact with the boat owner who was caught up in debris south of Gateway Drive. During the rescue one fire boat with two Ottumwa Firefighters capsized due to the strong current of the Des Moines River. Fortunately, both firefighters were eventually able to reach the shore downstream.


This could have had a tragic ending for the rescuers and boat operator. This time of year when we have had a substantial amount of rain and the rivers is very high; citizens need to realize that this is not the time to be out on the river.


Thanks to the Wapello County Sheriff’s Department, Deran’s Towing and the Canadian Pacific Railroad for their assistance in preventing what could have been a tragic situation.