GENEVA – A 26-year-old Bloomington man had come to the Geneva area with some friends on Saturday to kayak on the Fox River, but his two-person kayak went over the dam near State Street in an incident that ended up costing him his life, the Kane County Coroner's Office reported Monday.
The man was identified as Dinesh Sudhakar-Uckoo, the coroner's office revealed in a news release. The preliminary cause of death was determined to be drowning after an autopsy was performed, according to the release.
Geneva Fire Lt. Todd Loomis said Saturday that the man was in a two-person kayak riding with another man of similar age on the Fox River near the dam. The Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles fire departments were dispatched at 4:27 p.m. Saturday to a report of someone in the dam, Loomis said.
Bystanders said that two people lost control of their two-person kayak shortly after launching it into the Fox River. The strong current carried the kayak and the two boaters over a low head dam, according to a Saturday Geneva Fire Department news release.
The man who survived was thrown out of the boil in front of the dam, Loomis said. He was found unconscious floating downriver from the dam and was rescued by Kevin O’Conner of Ottawa, Mark Stankus of West Chicago and responding Geneva firefighters, according to the release.
The unconscious man was transported by Geneva Fire Department paramedics to Delnor Hospital and was reported Saturday night to be recovering, the Geneva release said. A update on his condition was not available Monday.
"The two men who went over the dam were from a group of six friends from the Bloomington, Ill., area and who had rented three two-person kayaks for a trip on the river," the Geneva release said.
The four other friends were not injured and remained on the scene during recovery operations. They were provided assistance by staff members from the American Red Cross, according to the release.
Fire crews were able to get Sudhakar-Uckoo from the boil at about 6 p.m. Saturday, Loomis said.
Geneva Fire Chief Steve Olson confirmed that Sudhakar-Uckoo was wearing a life jacket when he was retrieved from the boil. He was pronounced deceased by paramedics after consultation with Delnor's emergency room staff, the release said.
The coroner's office was called to the scene at 6:22 p.m. The office is cooperating with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Police in its investigation into Sudhakar-Uckoo's death.
"He's somebody's son," Stankus said on Monday as he talked about Saturday's incident.
Stankus was sitting on a bench with his wife, Karen, on Saturday near the dam. He said the two men got into the river at the canoe and kayak launch site at Old Mill Park, about 50 feet upstream of the dam on the east side of the river.
The men appeared to have difficulty paddling once they were on the water in their kayak, he said. The men's kayak was parallel to the top of the dam, but the current was pushing them towards the edge.
As the kayak went over, the man who survived jumped out of the kayak and was also wearing a life vest. The man began to move downriver after he came out of the boil.
"That's when I felt like I had a chance to go get him," Stankus said.
Stankus jumped in the water but the man was carried under the Route 38 bridge. He signaled to people on the other side the man was coming and was later rescued.
Stankus said Sudhakar-Uckoo also got out of the kayak when it fell over the dam, but then disappeared in the boil.
"It just turned tragic very quickly," Stankus said on Monday.