Youngster Dies After Water Accident (ADDING NAME OF VICTIM)

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Published on August 27 2012 1:33 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A youngster has died after a water accident at a family reunion over the weekend.

Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet today said the victim was Benjamin Stepp of Palatine.

Effingham County Dive Rescue Commander Terry Trueblood said the 13-year-old boy was swinging from a rope into the water when he slipped and landed on the edge of a small cliff that dropped off into about eight feet of water.  Upon hitting the edge of the cliff, the boy slipped over the edge and into the water.  Nearby adult family members immediately began searching for the boy, but to no avail.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Department received a 911 call about 1:42pm Saturday concerning the incident, which occurred at a private pond along the Teutopolis-Elliotstown Road, south of the State Police Blacktop.  The Effingham County Dive Rescue Team was immediately paged along with Dieterich Fire Protection District and both the Illinois State Police and the sheriff's department.

Once on scene, rescue team divers geared up and extracted Stepp with less than one minute of search time from 14 feet of water.  Trueblood said the boy was underwater a total of approximately 30 minutes.  CPR was immediately started at the scene and the boy was taken to St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital in Effingham for further treatment.  Word was received at the scene that a pulse had been re-established and Stepp was flown to St. Louis Children's Hospital for additional treatment.  Trueblood said information was later received that the boy died from his injuries Sunday morning.

Trueblood conducted a post-rescue investigative dive in the area of the incident.  He said no obstructions or hazardous debris was located underwater.  Trueblood said it appears the trauma suffered from the fall prior to going into the water may have contributed to the eventual death.