Drowning victim was suddenly unable to swim, deputies say

Police pull man from Mississippi River

Grant County rescue crews recovered the body of a man who drowned in the Mississippi River Friday evening.

The sheriff’s office got a call about a possible drowning just after 4:38 p.m. Friday.  A group of five men from Dubuque had been camping north of Potosi, across from Finley’s Landing Park on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.

To see why the fishing was so bad, deputies said 53-year-old Jerry Thill got up to his chest in the water.  His friends thought he seemed fine until he suddenly appeared distressed and unable to swim.  A 23-year-old companion swam to him to help, but was not able to get a hold of him.  Thill disappeared under the water, and another friend dialed 911.

A pair of wardens searched by boat shortly after the call was received.  Several fire departments also responded.

The boat from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was able to scan the river and locate Thill’s body after an hour of searching.  He was recovered from the water and pronounced dead.