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IN: Goose hunter dies in boating accident

Goose hunter dies in boating accident on Turtle Creek Reservoir in Sullivan County

February 3, 2009

SULLIVAN -- A Hammond goose hunter died in a boating accident on Turtle Creek Reservoir in Sullivan County Tuesday morning during windy, sub-zero weather conditions. Edward L. Sako, 42, was in a boat that overturned about 200 yards north of the boat ramp 6:45 a.m., according to an Indiana Conservation public information officer Max Winchell.

Sako was found floating face down in the water near the overturned boat.

A second passenger in the boat, Jeff Corning, 47, of Lake Village, IN was found alive in the water, Winchell said.

He was rescued and taken to the Hoosier Energy's hunting check station. He was later taken to Sullivan County Community Hospital and was treated for mild hypothermia.

"Sako and Corning left the boat ramp en route to an area on the lake to hunt geese. Several other parties of goose hunters were waiting for daylight, and conditions to improve, to boat to their hunting areas," Winchell stated. "One party had previously launched their boat and set out on the lake, in the near zero temperature, but returned due to large waves created by the high winds that morning. Sako and Corning launched their boat in the darkness and headed out onto the lake. Shortly after they set out, other hunters at the check station heard the men yelling for help over the high winds."

Indiana Conservation Officers Deland Szczepanski and Jay Baker were off duty and planning to hunt on the lake Tuesday morning.

ICO Szczepanski and ICO Baker got into a boat with Mark Wallace of Corydon, to search for the men. They found Corning holding onto the motor of the capsized boat.

"They immediately took him back to the Hoosier Energy check station to get him dry and warm. ICO Szczepanski went back out in a second boat with Bill Poe of Vincennes and Tom Weidner of Bridgeport, IL, and found Sako floating face down in the water near the overturned boat."

He was taken by the SCAT 2 ambulance to S.C.C.H. where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be performed by forensic pathologist and Vigo County Coroner Roland Kohr at Regional Hospital in Terre Haute, at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"Neither of the men were found wearing a life jacket," Winchell added.

Indiana Conservation Officer Tom Lahay is investigating the boating mishap.

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