Authorities identify South Skunk drowning victim


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

The Story County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team searches the water for a possible drowned man. According to authorities, a 29-year-old man who had been tubing down the South Skunk River fell off his inner tube and went missing in the water near Carr Park on June 18. According to his friends, who were also tubing, he is an ISU graduate student. The call came into the Ames Police Department at approximately 2:45 p.m.

Isd Staff

Editor’s note: The age of the man who drowned was originally reported as 28 years old by the Ames Police Department. The man was actually 29 years old and the original story has been edited to resolve this error.

Updated 2:15 p.m. June 19:

Authorities identified a South Skunk River drowning victim as Philip Frystak, a 29-year-old who had been a graduate student at Iowa State.

Annette Hacker of the ISU news service said Philip Frystak was last registered at Iowa State in fall 2012 as a graduate student in civil engineering. Hacker said he did not complete a graduate degree.

Frystak, originally from New Jersey, was tubing with seven friends on June 18 when he fell into the river. Frystak had hit a downed tree that was half submerged in the water.

The Ames Police Department received a call around 2:45 p.m. that Frystak was missing. Frystak’s body was finally recovered from the river around 6:45 p.m. and transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

The South Skunk River was higher than normal due to heavy rain earlier in the week. The rain created swift currents and murkier water.  

Original story:

The body of a missing 29-year-old man was found in the South Skunk River at about 6:45 p.m after a four-hour search by authorities. He went missing at about 2:45 p.m.

The man was tubing in the South Skunk River when he fell off of his inner tube near Carr Park, according to Ames Police. The man was with a group of seven friends who noticed he was missing after they were caught in a fallen tree just north of the foot bridge at Carr Park in east Ames.

Sgt. Christine Crippen, public information officer for the Ames Police Department, said the man’s friends told police that he was an ISU graduate student.

The Story County dive team arrived on the scene at about 3:20 p.m. Because the current was so strong, the Story County team had to remain in its boat until a specialized dive team arrived.

The Central Iowa Dive Team from Des Moines got to the scene at approximately 6:20 p.m.

Crippen described the current as “very strong” and said it is “very hard to see hidden trees” that may have fallen into the river.

At 6:45 p.m. the dive team’s sonar spotted something by a broken tree and believed his body was stuck there. The body was found about 40 to 50 yards south of where the group had gotten stuck.

“Once [his friends] noticed he had gotten trapped in the tree, I think some of them tried to go back to assist him, but they just couldn’t locate him,” Crippen said.

The group started at Soper’s Mill north of Ames and had planned to get out of the river at Carr Park.

Police said the man is a resident of New Jersey. The man’s name has not been released and police are in the process of notifying his family.