Clark County water rescue highlights importance of boating safety

Springfield man dies days after rescue from water at Buck Creek State Park

A 22-year-old Springfield man died Monday, two days after his rescue from the water at Buck Creek State Park and Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials are investigating what caused him to be rescued in the first place.

Caleb Diviak, 22, was unresponsive in the water near a Jet Ski on Saturday afternoon when a fisherman found him. The angler rescued Diviak by moving him from the water to the main dock area.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources officers and other bystanders rendered aid and administered CPR before the victim was taken by Care Flight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, according to the ODNR.

Diviak died Monday, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

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The man was wearing a life jacket at the time of the water rescue. ODNR officials say that is the most important thing you can do while out on the water — but there’s a little more to it than just that.

The life jacket needs to be designed for that purpose,” said ODNR Natural Resource Officer Shaun Lentini. “It’s coast guard approved. It’ll list the activities that the life jacket is approved for.”

Lentini said everyone under the age of 10 has to wear a life jacket, and anyone riding on a boat — regardless of age has to have one readily available.

He said wearing a life jacket is especially important if someone is ever boating alone or at night.

That’s a principle Vernon Arnett has lived by as he raised all of his children — as they were growing up, they were always out on the water.

“They had to have a life jacket on — no matter if we were fishing or boating,” he said.

He explained how dangerous the water can be, and that it’s sometimes hard to see hidden dangers under the water.

“My ring got caught under a limb when I was fishing and my wife pulled me out — Thank goodness she pulled me out,” Arnett said.

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The waters at the state park were extremely choppy on Monday, which forced many people to stay off the water and stick with fishing from a dock.

Bradley Lewis brought his kayaks and boat to the Marina, but didn’t want to take chances when he saw the conditions of the water.

He said anything can happen to even the most experienced boaters or swimmers.

“You gotta do your homework before you come out here and make sure you know the safety regulations and you gotta abide by the safety regulations for sure,” he said.

There were 18 fatalities on Ohio waterways last year, the second highest in the last four years, according to ODNR.

Lentini said a common cause of boating accidents specifically relates to people sitting or standing on parts of a boat they shouldn’t be — like riding on the bow of the boat.

Lentini said in addition to implementing practical safety approaches, a little bit of good judgment goes a long way.

“Use common sense, keep a good lookout, keep the speed low,” he said.

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