Indiana Conservation Officers report the body of Stephen Pitts (58) of Indianapolis has been recovered south of the Norway Dam on the Tippecanoe River in White County.
Last night at approximately 8:50 p.m. the Monticello Fire Department advised they had located and recovered a body believed to be Pitts, who had been missing in the water since Monday morning.
Indiana Conservation Officers and the White County Coroner’s Office were contacted for further investigation. The official cause of death is pending, but is believed to be accidental drowning. Family notification has been made.
Pitts was last seen kayaking near the Norway Dam on May 27th, when witnesses reported observing him being pulled by a recirculating current toward the face of the dam. The kayak Pitts was maneuvering capsized throwing him into the water. Pitts did not resurface.
Indiana Conservation Officers began investigating the disappearance of a man in the Tippecanoe River Monday, May 27 at 8:11 a.m. the White County Communications Center received a 911 call reporting a man was in the Tippecanoe River, just below the Norway Dam.
Investigators learned that three men were in the area to fish. At one point, two men (each in a kayak) were paddling in an area just below the dam. Witnesses report both men were pulled by a recirculating current toward the face of the dam. Because of the recent rain, a substantial amount of water is being released from the dam. The water coming from the dam has created a 20-30 foot tall wall of water near the face of the dam. The force of the water caused one kayak to capsize.
The victim, Stephen Pitts (58) from Indianapolis, was thrown from the kayak. Pitts did have a life jacket in the kayak, but was not wearing it. The second kayaker was able to make it to safety.
Several agencies responded to the scene to assist. Responders were able to contact Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) representatives who were then able to temporarily close the dam to allow rescuers access to the water.
Indiana Conservation Officers and Monticello Firefighters searched the area with boats, sonar, and divers. The Indiana State Police searched the area by helicopter.
At this point Pitts has not been located. The flow of water through the dam has been restored to the levels prior to the incident. Indiana Conservation Officers are continuing to search the river downstream from the Norway Dam by boat. Pitts was last seen wearing tan shorts and a yellow shirt. Any potential sightings should be reported to 911.
While working the search on the Tippecanoe River, Indiana Conservation Officers also responded to the Tippecanoe River near Bluewater Park in Monticello for a capsized boat with two people in the water.
Both were rescued and were uninjured. Additionally, officers responded to Clinton County on the Wildcat Creek for a person trapped in fast moving water.
He was also rescued.