SALIX, IOWA – Two people were rushed to the hospital Saturday afternoon from Browns Lake after an inner tube accident.
Crews from the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Woodbury County Emergency Services, Iowa State Patrol, Woodbury County Conservation Board, Salix ambulance and fire department were called to the lake, about two miles west of Salix, shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday.
Woodbury County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Doug Boetger said two unidentified people, one male and one female, were riding in inner tubes behind a boat, when they struck a wake and were tossed at another boat, which was not moving. One victim was a minor and the other was an adult, he said.
"They were picked up by bystanders, brought to shore, both have been transported to the hospital with injuries," Boetger said. The boats themselves were not damaged.
Boetger characterized their injuries as "fairly serious." One was taken to a local hospital by ambulance, while the other was taken from the scene by helicopter.
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Dozens of bystanders -- campers at the nearby Bigelow Park as well as beach-goers -- watched as the helicopter took off with one of the victims.
The Iowa DNR has taken the lead in the investigation, which is still in its early stages. Boetger said it was too early to determine whether anyone was at fault or whether citations would be issued.
Browns Lake, a natural oxbow of the Missouri River managed by the Iowa DNR, has long been a popular destination for outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, water-skiing, camping and picnicking. The accident coincided with Memorial Day weekend, which is usually a recreation-heavy holiday.
A review of Journal archives indicates serious boating accidents at Browns Lake have been infrequent, though drownings and near-drownings have happened, including a near-drowning last summer and drownings in July, 1973, June, 1976 and August, 1943.