Man dies saving girlfriend after kayak capsizes


Signs warn of hazardous currents at the top of the George Rogers Clark boat ramp in Clarksville, Ind., in a Google Maps Street View image from 2019. (Google Maps Street View)

A 28-year-old died while trying to save his girlfriend from a capsized kayak on the Ohio River over the weekend, according to officials.

Travis Hughes, of Pewee Valley, Kentucky, was kayaking with his girlfriend, 31-year-old Jamie Dunaway, and brother across the George Rogers Clark boat ramp in Clarksville, Indiana, around 9 p.m. Saturday when a wave hit Dunaway’s kayak, sending her into the water, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

When Hughes attempted to rescue her, his kayak capsized and he didn’t resurface, IDNR Conservation Officer Jim Schreck told ABC News.

Dunaway swam to a nearby island and a short time later was picked up by rescue boat from the Clarksville Fire Department, officials said. Hughes’ 30-year-old brother, Mitchell Hughes, remained in his kayak and searched the surrounding water until the rescue team arrived, according to the release.

Hughes’ body was found around 11:30 p.m. floating near a hydroelectric dam across from the boat ramp.

The Clark County Coroner’s Officer will rule on the cause of death.

No one in the group was wearing life jackets, officials said, warning boaters to “always wear a life jacket when onboard a watercraft, regardless of the size of the waterway.”

Additional information was not immediately available.

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