The Norman Transcript

October 10, 2013

Choctaw man drowns near boat ramp

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A woman fell to her knees crying out, “I want him back,” Wednesday night as she learned from officials that her husband’s body was found in Lake Thunderbird.

A drowning was reported around 5:30 p.m. after dispatch received a call about a man falling off his boat and not resurfacing.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol later said the man was unloading his boat when he slipped and fell on the ramp and his boat began to drift.

He then went out to a rocky point where the boat ramp at Little Axe Campground is and went into the water to retrieve the boat, which continued to drift away, said Lt. Mike Roe, an OHP trooper on scene.

A young man tried to go in after him after he saw what happened, but the water was too cold, Roe said. Unable to get to the boat treading in about 12 feet of water and unable to get back to shore, the man drowned.

Roe said the man was a 58-year-old resident of Choctaw.

Crews were able to get to the lake with equipment, including a sonar scanner, around 6 p.m. and found the man around 7:15 p.m.

During the search and after the man was recovered, friends and family showed up in a steady stream, hugging his immediate family, including his wife and adult daughter and son.

“Ron (the victim’s son) is a great guy. You know if he’s amazing, his parents made him that way; you know his parents are amazing,” said Jessica Beery, a friend of Ron’s at the scene.

Roe said he believed this is the first drowning to occur at Lake Thunderbird this year. The man’s identity is being withheld pending next of kin notification.