River claims life of infant
By Michael Butler
Another casualty has occurred on the Tallapoosa River below Thurlow Dam in Tallassee. A local 911 call was received at approximately 1:35 on Saturday afternoon for missing swimmers.
Authorities were able to rescue one adult individual by boat, but could not locate an 18-month-old baby.
The rescue/recovery operation ceased due to darkness in the evening hours but authorities received a call late Saturday at 11:09.
"The Tallassee Police Department was able to locate the body of the missing child from earlier in the day," TPD Chief Matt Higgins noted in a press released. "Detectives had received information from a witness that the child had been seen and returned to officers from Alabama Fish and Game."
The incident occurred near the city-owned boat ramp behind AES Industries. A family from the Phenix City area was visiting with friends from Tallassee and ventured out on the rocks near the ramp when water levels began to rise.
There were five individuals in the group, including the baby boy who fell into the water.
Signs are posted noting the dangers of swiftly rising waters and the deaths that have occurred when personal flotation devices are not in use. This is the second fatality in two months. In July, Charles Edward Stewart, 31, drowned in a kayaking accident on the Tallapoosa.
“Pay attention to the signs,” Tallassee Fire Chief Travis Jones said. “Heed the warnings.”
Tallassee and Friendship Fire Departments, as well as Tallassee Police were assisted by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Department and Alabama Law Enforcement Division D.
“None of the operations would be possible without the help of Elmore County EMA and Alabama Power," Tallassee Assistant Fire Chief David Rogers said. "They immediately went to zero flow which provides a safer atmosphere.”