Woman Dies, Girl Lives in Boating Accident at Wilmington Dam, Kankakee River; USCG Helicopter Rescue Flight Path Over Arlington Heights


Wilmington police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 4:30 p.m. Saturday July 29, 2017 to a water rescue at the Wilmington Dam near 500 Barnes Drive in Wilmington. A woman was with a 6-year-old female child when an inflatable boat flipped over and became trapped near the dam.

Authorities said that 36-year-old Elizabeth R. Larson — a resident of Normal, Illinois — was with a 6-year-old girl when the inflatable boat got trapped and tipped over. Larson was transported to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, where she was pronounced dead.

Preliminary autopsy reports on Sunday revealed Elizabeth R. Larson drowned.

According to Ed Cross, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the young girl survived..

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and a United State Coast Guard helicopter also responded to the scene, and is investigating the death.

A four-member crew from the United States Coast Guard was also dispatched to the scene, but was released when local Wilmington crews were able to remove the victims before the USCG MH-65 Dolphin helicopter arrived on the scene.

The US Coast Guard helicopter crew for Rescue Helicopter [USCG 6511], based in Waukegan consists of two pilots, a flight mechanic, and a rescue swimmer. The crew’s rescue flight path flew from northeast to southwest over Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights about 6:20 p.m. Saturday, while enroute from Waukegan to Wilmington.

File video for US Coast Guard Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin [USCG-6531] Startup, Taxi, and takeoff.

The H-65 helicopter — the Coast Guard’s most ubiquitous aircraft — is certified for operation in all-weather and night-time operations, with the exception of icing conditions. There are 100 H-65s in the inventory. The H-65 is the primary Coast Guard aircraft used aboard certified cutters during deployments. FLIR, a heads-up display (HUD) and other avionics upgrades are being installed aboard the H-65 as part of the ongoing conversion-sustainment initiative to sustain the airframe for the foreseeable future.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2016, two Joliet children drowned near the same location near Wilmington Dam. Eder Arroyo, 12, drowned, and Abigail Arroyo, 13, drowned when she tried to rescue him.

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