Clipped From Alton Evening Telegraph
Swimming Tragedy Related Relatives Recover Plotner Boy's Body From Mississippi Relatives recovered the body of Eddie Plolncr, 12. from the Mississippi hclow Grafton late Friday afternoon, 22 hours nfter the boy drowned. The story was told today of tho swimming tragedy that occurred In tho treacherous currents off the lower end of a sandbar at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers late Thursday. Mrs. Fred Harrison, the Plolner. boy's aunt, related how Eddie was lost: and others in the party struggled for their lives. Eddie, wilh his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward 13. Plotner, 306 Roller Ave., Roxaal and Mr. and Mrs. Harrison and their daughter, Sharon, 9, had gone in the Plotner boat to the sandbar. "It was such a beautiful place," said Mrs. Harrison. "We took along some Iced tea and planned to swim and drink the tea and then eat someplace along the way home. Carried Downstream "Where we were swimming It was just a little over the knees and the shallows extended far out—then there was a sudden drop-off. "Somehow the boat drifted from its anchor and we all were carried downstream but we didn't realize it. The boat was still close by. "I can't swim and was float- Ing in a life jacket. 1 didn't struggle against the current be- cause I didn't even realize what was happening. "My husband was swimming and almost exhausted but he managed to reach me and stay afloat by holding onto the life jacket. • "My sister (Mrs. Plotner) was saved by the life'jacket that my daughter, Sharon took to her. Sharon (though only nine years old) has completed a Red Cross swimming course and she was not afraid. I don't know whether we have praised her enough. All I can say is, 'Thank God she knew what to do and was not afraid. 1 Answers Calls for Help "There was one man, Bill George — he's a member of the Grafton Volunteer Emergency Corps — whom we cannot thank enough. We were shouting for help and, though he was some distance away in his motorboat setting out a trot line, he came right over and pulled Fred (Mrs. Harrison's husband) from the water. I climbed into the boat myself. "There were other people around quite close. They just stood and looked. I don't know why. Maybe they thought we were in Shallow water. But they didn't come to us until Bill George shouted to them, 'For God's sake, come help these people!" While this struggle was going on, an even more grim battle was underway against the swirling current further off the end of the bar. Edward Plotner was trying to save his son. The boy went un- der for the last time. Bill George was completely exhausted and on the verge of drowning. Another man in a motorboat picked up the elder Plotner who about that time took Mrs. Plotner and Sharon from the river. Mrs. Harrison explained that she had not been aware of the drift to deeper water as she had been in shallow water, floating on a life jacket. "I just lifted my feet from shallow water and hadn't tried to touch bottom. The boat was drifting with me and I didn't realize I had moved out over the drop-off. "People should be warned of these things. I only hope this may save others from making the same mistake." Found After Ratn Eddie's body was floating when it was found Friday afternoon. Mrs. Harrison's son, Ronald, 21, and a cousin, James Beeler of East St. Louis, with another man in the Plotner boat had been dragging and then scanning the waters below the place where 'the boy went down. "A rain came up," Mrs'. Harrison related, "and they took shelter in a duck blind. They wouldn't have been around that area if it hadn't been for the rain. When they came out of the blind, they saw something white floating and saw it was a dead fish. Then they saw something like a log. It was Eddie's body." Funeral rites for Eddie will bo conducted Monday at 1:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church by the Rev. E. E. DeLong, the pastor. The body will be moved from Marks Mortuary, Wood River, where friends may call after 7 p.m. today, to the church at 10:30 a.m. Monday, In addition to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Plotner of 306 Reller Ave., Roxana, Eddie is survived by his paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. William Earl Plotner of Armstrong; and his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mary Crouch, who Is here from San Bernardino, Calif. Burial will be in Woodland Hill Cemetery.