Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office responds to Wildcat Creek drowning

Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office responds to a child drowning in Wildcat Creek Sunday afternoon.

Posted: Aug 31, 2020 7:12 PM
Updated: Aug 31, 2020 7:15 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) -- One Lafayette child is dead and another narrowly escaped drowning in the Wildcat Creek Sunday. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office reports the area where they were swimming is quite dangerous.

"We're very sorry for their tragedy that they're having to go through," said Capt. Robert Hainje, Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office.

Tippecanoe County deputies were first responders in this incident. Capt. Hainje said they wish it could have ended much differently.

"We wish that they would never have to go through something like this," said Hainje. "Unfortunately, we did everything within our powers to save their child and unfortunately that was just impossible in this situation."

Hainje said it took an hour to recover the child's body. Neither she nor her brother had on flotation devices.

"I think there's a false sense of security that people get into moving water and they think, okay I'm just out enjoying the water, the danger is you can't see where you're stepping," said Hainje.

Capt. Hainje said the area where these siblings were swimming is particularly dangerous. It's located where two streams of water connect and the constant water flow can create deep pockets of water, which makes some areas much deeper than others just a few feet apart.

"I think people truly underestimate the power of the water," said Hainje. "What looks like a very calm flow for the river or for the creeks really has a treacherous effect on us."

Capt. Hainje suggests not swimming in the creek at all but if you do to wear a life-jacket, that goes for adults and children.

"Mother Nature is relentless and she is unforgiving and people need to remember that our confidence in our abilities is much higher than what it should be when we enter the water," said Hainje.

Capt. Hainje said it's actually a ticketed offense for those who chose to swim here and not to wear a flotation device. That rule applies to children ages 14 and under.

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