Officials recover body of missing Iowa State student

Officials recovered the final body of a member of the Iowa State Crew Club Monday morning after a boating accident 24 hours earlier.

Kylee Haueter

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include a statement from ISU Senior Vice President Toyia Younger.

The body of an Iowa State student was found by search and rescue barely 24 hours after a boat accident which resulted in the fatality of another student, announced Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Timmons, Monday morning.

Law enforcement is still working to notify families of the students involved in the accident. Once families have been notified, the names will be released.

The Iowa State Crew Club was practicing at Little Wall Lake Sunday morning when their boat capsized. Three students were rescued after the 911 call was received at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The body of one student was recovered Sunday afternoon.

The search wrapped up around 8 p.m. Sunday and resumed at sunrise Monday morning, around 7 a.m.

Timmons said with the help of technology offered by the Ventura Fire Department, they were able to quickly locate the final body. The imaging technology allowed officials to locate the potential body and narrow down the search area.

“We got the DNR folks in the water and they were able to positively identify the body,” Timmons said.

The body was positively identified around 9:45 a.m., almost exactly 24 hours after the initial 911 call was received.

Timmons said finding the body quickly was important due to weather conditions that would make it risky for divers to be in the water. High winds created choppy waters that, combined with cold water temperatures, would make it dangerous for the search and rescue crew.

The lake ranges from 6 feet to 12 feet deep with low visibility.

“Visibility is zero,” Timmons said.

Timmons could not comment on whether or not the students were wearing life jackets. Due to athletic and flexibility purposes, individuals who participate in rowing are not usually required to wear life vests. It is not known whether these students were required to be wearing vests.

Investigation of the accident is still underway and there is no specific information available yet about why the boat capsized, but high winds made for choppy waters Sunday morning as well. The lake completely unfroze just a few weeks ago, meaning water temperature could sit around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a statement issued Sunday evening, Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said they are providing support to club members and their families.

In a new statement, Iowa State said that the university will conduct an internal review of policies and procedures relating to this incident. 

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the two students we lost on Sunday,” Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Toyia Younger said.

“During this time of grief, I ask the entire Iowa State community to show compassion and support for one another. We know there are a lot of questions and we are working to provide answers, but this will take time,” she said. “The Student Affairs team is providing ongoing outreach to comfort and support those students involved in the accident, other members of the Iowa State Crew Club, their families and friends. We ask that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.”  

Students needing support during this time are encouraged to contact Student Counseling Services at 515-294-5056, Student Assistance at 515-294-1020 or the Crisis Text Line, text “ISU” to 741741 (available 24/7).