Morgan Co. divers called to assist in weekend search in Christian County

By Gary Scott on January 6, 2016 at 1:00pm

Image from WICS-TV.

While the flooding has been bad in West Central Illinois, it hasn’t involved a fatal element like other parts of the state.

Ten people have died in flooding-related incidents since the three-day rain event on Christmas weekend.

Christian County in Central Illinois has been hit hard particularly with four drowning deaths. The bodies of two Taylorville teenagers were found after they were swept away in a pickup truck by floodwaters.

Bob Fitzsimmons, the coordinator for the Morgan County Underwater Search and Rescue Dive Team, says his unit was asked to run SONAR with three boats that were equipped to search.

“Through the various operations, we located, got a good image on it based upon the location where the vehicle was found, then it became a question of a dive operation, and with the Taylorville Fire Department’s dive teams, with the type of water and location, they had entanglement issues, they then felt that we had better capabilities and equipment to probably manage that, in which case we deployed more of our dive operations over there,” says Fitzsimmons.

He says the Morgan County dive team located the pickup in South Fork River. The two teens, Devan Everett and Brandon Mann, were found about 200 feet away from the vehicle.

With over 45 years of experience, Fitzsimmons says this isn’t the first time the Morgan County team has been called to another part of the state to assist in a rescue effort.

“The locals have supported us, and we do have higher level of training, higher level of equipment, and we’re quite well prepared to handle a lot of the more difficult cases,” he says.

You can hear the full interview with Fitzsimmons by clicking below.