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Hutchinson man drowns

Two others rescued by Corps of Engineers

Staff writer

Apostolic Faith Tabernacle Pastor the Rev. Carl Elder, 70, of Hutchinson, drowned at Marion Reservoir Friday after his 14-foot boat capsized because of 40 to 60 mph winds.

The Marion County sheriff’s office, who conducted a three-hour search for Elder with assistance from Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Marion, Florence, and Hillsboro Police Departments at the reservoir, said the boat with Elder and two other church members was disabled at about 1:41 p.m. in French Creek Cove.

Elder’s body was spotted by a Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter at 4:23 p.m on the northeast shoreline of the lake. The boat capsized in the south portion of the lake. Elder had drifted at least a mile from the scene of the accident, Sheriff Robert Craft said.

Elder was wearing a life vest.

An Army Corps of Engineers boat rescued the other two victims shortly after they received the call about the capsized boat. Richard Wood, 42, and Michael Ballinger, 30, both of Hutchinson, were found next to the overturned boat. They were treated at the scene by emergency medical services and released without further treatment.

Church members were participating in an annual retreat at the reservoir.

Winds were fierce enough to disable one search boat during the search.

Reservoir park ranger Tracey Robb said there is no high winds policy at the reservoir but urges visitors to be careful regarding harsh weather.

“People need to watch the weather. They need to make sure they have the right equipment for the weather conditions,” Robb said. “With a smaller boat you would not be able to with stand high wind speeds. Also, if you’re a first time boater, you won’t be as skilled in adverse weather conditions.”

Last modified May 4, 2011

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