Dayton brothers drown attempting to rescue child in Clark County pond

Area waterways saw multiple fatalities over Memorial Day weekend, with an area family losing two brothers after a boat capsized at a Clark County pond.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths of the two men Sunday who attempted to rescue a 7-year-old child from a private pond in Bethel Twp. in Clark County.

The men were identified Tuesday as Nickolas S. Boling, 29, and Sean M. Boling, 30, both of Dayton, according to the coroner’s offices in Clark and Montgomery counties.

The 7-year-old survived and was transported to a hospital, but the child’s condition was unknown Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency crews were called at 4:41 p.m. Sunday to the 10000 block of Schiller Road on a “report of potentially people underwater from a capsized boat as well as other people struggling in the water,” said Bethel Twp. Fire Chief Jacob King.

A child called 911 and reported the boat had flipped over. The caller’s father and uncle were in the water trying to help the caller’s cousin, according to call records.

“I need help, I don’t know what to do,” the caller said. “I don’t want to lose my dad. I’m freaking out, I can’t lose my uncle.”

Responding crews immediately dove into the water and rescued a child “struggling to remain above water with no life jacket on,” King said.

In the process, a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy suffered exhaustion and was transported to a hospital. The deputy, identified Monday as Vaughn Apel by the sheriff’s office, has been released from the hospital.

Nickolas Boling was declared dead at the scene.

Sean Boling was taken to the hospital Sunday, and he later died at Kettering Health Dayton, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed on Tuesday.

King said none of the people in the boat was wearing life jackets. He said the incident was one of several reported near-drownings Sunday.

“We just beg you to wear your life jacket,” King said. “We see this happen every year where there’s avoidable deaths from drowning.”

Multiple crews were called to the scene to aid in the rescue, including the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, a Clark County park ranger, crews from New Carlisle, Huber Heights and Enon, and a dive team with a boat from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base that recovered one of the victims. A CareFlight medical helicopter responded and landed but did not transport anyone. Witnesses also jumped in to help.

“A lot of heroic acts happened today,” King said.

Last year, there were at least 15 boating-related fatalities in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Area emergency crews responded to multiple water-recreation related incidents over the Memorial Day weekend, including a 31-year-old man thrown off his jet ski Sunday at Caesar Creek Lake.

The Warren County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday identified the victim as Donnell Jordan of Erie, Pennsylvania. Witnesses reported Jordan hit a wave and was thrown from his watercraft. The coroner’s office said Jordan died at the scene. Media reports say that Jordan was wearing a life jacket at the time.

Stephanie O’Grady, an ODNR spokesperson, said the man may have suffered a medical event that led to him being thrown off the jet ski but the incident remains under investigation.

In Montgomery County, crews were called Monday afternoon to the Great Miami River at the Rip Rap Road Bridge for a missing swimmer.

Three males were reportedly swimming around 12:30 p.m. Monday when one of them did not resurface, according to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.

Boats from Huber Heights, Butler Twp. and Dayton were called to the scene, where crews found the male and safely pulled him from the water, according to the dispatch center.

Rescue crews were called to two kayakers stuck Saturday in the low level dam on the Great Miami River near Miamisburg after going over it.

“Low Head Dams are not waterfalls. They are very dangerous hydraulics that should always be avoided. They are referred to as ‘Drowning Machines’ for good reason,” the Miami Valley Fire Department wrote in a social media post.

There were 111 reported deaths due to incidents caused by low head dams nationally just between 2018 and 2020, according to the National Weather Service.

Staff Writer Jen Balduf contributed to this report.

Resources for boaters

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers complimentary boating inspections upon request, along with educational courses, which can be found on the website. For more information, visit and go to “discover and learn.”

Safe boating tips

  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Check equipment and make sure you know how to use it.
  • Communicate a float plan: where you’re going and when you’ll return.
  • Use an engine cutoff device.
  • Watch the weather.
  • Stay alert: Many accidents are due to operator inattention.
  • Know boating speed zones and travel at safe speeds.
  • Never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Keep in touch via communication devices.

Source: ODNR and the National Safe Boating Council

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