Rock River drowning victim identified

Posted on: 6:17 pm, June 24, 2012, by , updated on: 05:01pm, June 25, 2012

After three hours of searching, the body of a man who disappeared while swimming in the Rock River was recovered around 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

The body of Boi Lian Thang, 25, a Myanmar national, was found in about 6 feet deep water in between Henry and Rock Island County.

Authorities said they had limited communication with Thang’s family because they were not all from the U.S.

His death is a reminder that the sometimes treacherous waters of the Mississippi and Rock rivers shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly by the immigrant and refugee population.

“They may be used to a slower river in the country they come from,” said Ed Hannah, President of Quad Cities Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. “A lot of them are probably shallower rivers.”

It was about this time last year that the Mississippi River claimed the life of African immigrant Michel Niyubahwe, 11, who’d been swimming with three friends when he went under the water and never surfaced.

Hannah says this latest drowning death highlights the need for some light to be shed on the potential hazards posed by these powerful rivers.

“20 to 30 years some of these people have spent in refugee camps, where the population is larger than that of Rock Island, for example,” he said. “Then, to be able to come to this country and have a chance at a better life and then something tragic like this happening- it’s certainly very sad.”

Original Story – from Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rescue crews are on the scene of a river rescue on the Rock River near Osburn, Illinois. Authorities say around 5:15pm two men went in the water on the Henry County side. One man went under and has not resurfaced. Authorities say the two men do not speak english well, therefore communication is limited.

Hillsdale, Port Byron, Cordova, and Hampton authorities are responding on the Rock Island County side of the river. While Colona and Coal Valley are expected to respond on the Henry County side of the river.

We will bring you more updates as they become available.