Blue River canoeist’s body recovered

From Local Sources

MILLTOWN — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is investigating a drowning incident that occurred around 5:45 p.m. Saturday near Milltown.

The body of victim Albert “Neal” Barger, 48, New Albany, was recovered at 10:52 a.m. Sunday, according to conservation officers with the agency’s law enforcement division.

Barger, who had little swimming experience, was not wearing a life jacket when the incident occurred, according to authorities.

At 5:50 p.m. Saturday, a 911 call was placed advising that the victim went missing after he and another member of a paddling group capsized their canoe. Conservation officers and other responders arrived on scene and a recovery effort was started around 6 p.m.

Initial dive efforts and surface searches were unsuccessful and suspended around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities resumed searching Sunday morning and, using two types of side-scan sonar, officers were able to pinpoint the victim’s location. Conservation officer public safety divers made the recovery.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, Milltown Police Department, Milltown Volunteer Fire Department, Ramsey Volunteer Fire Department, Harrison County Emergency Medical Services and the American Red Cross assisted.

Conservation officers reporting on the incident strongly urged everyone to always wear a lifejacket when around water, especially if swimming ability and or water conditions are questionable.

The investigation into Barger’s death is ongoing and additional information will be provided once it becomes available.

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