Victim’s ID still not released in Saturday OHSP drowning

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

The victim of a weekend drowning at Osage Hills State Park has been identified, but his name has not yet been released due to delays in contacting family members — who may live in India, according to a spokesman for the Marine Enforcement Division of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“We are having difficulty making next-of-kin notification,” Capt. George Brown, the commander of public affairs for the OHP, said Monday. “It will probably take some time to go through the appropriate channels.”

Following initial reports of the possible drowning at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, an ambulance and area law enforcement officers were called to a camping area in the southwest part of the park. A medical helicopter was placed on stand-by status.

Unconfirmed reports on Saturday indicated there had been a swimming accident in Sand Creek, which runs through OHSP. A portion of the park near the falls on Sand Creek were closed for several hours Saturday before being re-opened at around 8 p.m., reports said.

Early Monday, an official with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department confirmed that there had been a Saturday fatality at the park but she said she was unable to provide any additional details.

Brown said the man drowned in the creek portion of the park after getting into water that was apparently too deep for him. A woman reportedly called for help but would-be rescuers were unable to save the man, who non-official sources said was in the mid-30 age range. An OHP dive team was initially called for assist but the request was cancelled prior to their arrival, Brown said.

Osage Hills State Park is located approximately 12 miles west of Pawhuska off U.S. Highway 60.