Second body recovered in Iowa State Crew Club rowing accident

Hamilton County authorities have found the body of a second Iowa State Crew Club member who went missing during an accident at Little Wall Lake Sunday morning, Hamilton County Sheriff Douglas Timmons confirmed during a news conference Monday morning.

Five members of the Iowa State Crew Club were practicing at Little Wall Lake on Sunday morning when their boat capsized, according to a university news release. Three of the students were rescued from the water, treated and released from Mary Greeley Medical Center, officials said. The body of another student was recovered by a dive team Sunday.

Firefighters from the Ventura Fire Department used an advanced sonar imaging system to find the second body, Timmons said Monday. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources made the identification around 10 a.m., Timmons said. The Story County Dive Team then recovered the body, he said.

The search for the student continued until nightfall Sunday. Around 7:30 p.m., divers began to return to shore. As of 9 p.m. Sunday night, Timmons said the search for the remaining student had been suspended and would resume Monday morning.

It was important to finish the search before conditions became dangerous for divers, Timmons said. He expected wind gusts of up to 50 mph in the afternoon. The Ames Municipal Airport reported winds of 22 mph and wind gusts of up to 37 mph at 9:53 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

As the sun rose higher on the lake the wind picked up and waves on the lake became choppy. Visibility in the water was bad.

“We knew it was going to pick up,” Timmons said. “We weren’t going to put any rescuers’ lives in jeopardy."

The lake has a maximum depth of 13.2 feet, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Timmons did not know the depth at the spot the body was found. Depth can range from 6 to 12 feet, he said.

Timmons did not say if members on the boat were wearing life jackets at the time or if they were required to. He also did not know if there were any life jackets on the boat.

“That part is still under investigation,” Timmons said.

Timmons said the search and rescue was hard on rescuers.

“We’ve got family, friends,” Timmons said. “Thinking of loved ones. We want to respect the families… and the survivors. It’s hard for us as rescuers. It’s also for the families and the loved ones of the recovered.”

Divers searched an area in the northeast part of the lake Monday morning. Just after 10 a.m. the search appeared to stop when authorities pulled boats from the water. Search boats were later placed on ramps and left the area.

More:What we know about Iowa State crew accident on Little Wall Lake

From Sunday: Iowa State Crew Club's boat capsized during practice; 1 student's body found, 1 missing

The Iowa State Crew club is a recognized student organization. Little Wall Lake is about 15 miles north of Ames.

“The Iowa State community is heartbroken to learn of this tragic accident at Little Wall Lake," Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement Sunday. "At this time, we are focused on providing support to club members, their families and friends. We ask that everyone keep them in their thoughts during this very difficult time."

Des Moines Register reporter Amber Mohmad contributed to this report.

Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at irosario@gannett.com or on Twitter at @irosarioc.