LUDLOW FALLS — A Dayton man has been identified as the victim of a fatal drowning accident that took place at Ludlow Falls on Thursday afternoon.
The Miami County Sheriff’s Office identified Jalen Michael Ward Sheeler, 19, as the victim of the drowning.
Miami County Sheriff’s deputies, along with fire personnel and medics, were dispatched to Ludlow Falls at approximately 2 p.m. on Thursday on the report of an accidental drowning. A nearby neighbor heard calls for help and went to the falls where a female subject told her that one of her companions had failed to surface after jumping into the water. The neighbor went to the nearby Ludlow Falls Fire Department where a firefighter was also responding to the call for help.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said the deputies were dispatched and arrived to find a female subject and a male subject who told them that she and the two male subjects had been at the falls for about 10 minutes when the male subjects climbed to the top of a nearby cliff and jumped into the water below.
Deputies learned that the victim had been jumping into the falls from a cliff. After jumping, he re-surfaced and went back to shore before going back into the water, at which point he became distressed. The victim became submerged and did not resurface.
The second male subject then attempted to reach the victim who went under, but was unable to get to him. Duchak said that in his attempts to help his companion, the second male subject also became distressed. He was transported to Upper Valley Medical Center where he was treated and released.
The Piqua Fire Department’s dive team was dispatched to assist in locating the victim. The teams coordinated a search and located the victim not far from where he was last seen approximately 90 minutes after he went under. The victim was found deceased.
Miami County Coroner Dr. William Ginn ordered the remains removed to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for autopsy. The investigation is pending the autopsy results. The preliminary cause of death is accidental drowning. In addition to the Ludlow Falls Fire Department, additional resources were requested from Troy Fire Department’s water rescue team, the Piqua Fire Department dive team, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base dive team, West Milton Fire Department dive team, and Pleasant Hill Rescue Squad.
Duchak emphasized the danger of diving and swimming at Ludlow Falls, saying that the area is posted and “swimming is strictly prohibited, and deputies will issue citations to anyone found swimming there.”
The area below the falls is strewn with debris that washes downstream and makes the waterway extremely dangerous, Duchak said. Anyone trying to swim or dive there is “gambling with your own life,” Duchak said.
Reach Mike Ullery at firstname.lastname@example.org
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