One dead and one rescued after jet skis cross dam on Rock River

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One man died and another was rescued after they both rode jet skis over the Steele Dam on the Rock River in Milan, Illinois.

The Rock Island County Coroner said Shane Ekin, 40, of Cambridge died in the incident.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said both men were operating in an area between the dam and buoys marked “No Boats.”  A statement from the DNR said witnesses reported the men made the ride downstream over the dam, and they were trying to go back upstream over the dam when Ekin was ejected from his jet ski at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2013.

That’s when 42-year-old Anthony Sovey, also of Cambridge, tried to rescue Ekin from the turbulent water below the dam.   Sovey was thrown from his jet ski and was able to cling to a partially-submerged tree until he was rescued.

A statement from the Rock Island Fire Department said crews got help from the Backwater Gamblers boat.  Rescuers floated a rescue rope and flotation device to Sovey, who was pulled to shore on the Vandruff Island side of the river.  Sovey was then taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  He has since been released from the hospital.

Ekin’s body was found downstream from the dam.

The DNR statement said both men were wearing life jackets.