KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – A hunter is hospitalized after his boat sank on Webster Lake Saturday morning.
Despite frigid temperatures and wind gusts forecast to reach up to 50 miles per hour, two 27-year-olds had set out to waterfowl hunt on Webster Lake near Epworth Forest.
Trenton Stackhouse, of Milford, and Darick Stiles, of Warsaw quickly realized the conditions were too difficult to overcome.
The men attempted to gather their decoys and return to the boat ramp, when large waves overtook their jon boat and it began to sink.
Moments before their boat became fully submerged, Stackhouse and Stiles unsuccessfully attempted to put on their lifejackets and had to grab several waterfowl decoys and a floating gun case for buoyancy to swim the several hundred yards to shore.
Once on shore, Stackhouse became unresponsive due to severe hypothermia. Stiles entered an unoccupied home around 11:16 a.m. to find shelter to save Stackhouse. The alarm was triggered, and Kosciusko County Dispatch Center was contacted by the security company.
When police arrived, Stackhouse was taken to the hospital with severe hypothermia.
The incident is still under investigation.
Indiana Conservation Officers remind the public that Indiana law requires life jackets to be readily accessible and in good condition for all boat occupants while underway. Hunters utilizing watercraft should also plan for severe environmental conditions associated with strong winds and storms.
Responding agencies include North Webster Police Department, North Webster Fire Department, North Webster EMS, and Indiana Conservation Officers.