Pierre man drowns in Missouri River

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – A 67-year-old man from Pierre has died after he went into the Missouri River while unloading his boat at the Fort Pierre boat ramp Monday morning.

Stanley County Chief Deputy Sheriff Greg Swanson says David Lee Braun was pronounced dead at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre.

Upon investigation, Swanson says a local resident talked with Braun when he arrived at the boat ramp by himself around 6:30 a.m. While unloading, Swanson says it appears the boat got away from Braun, who went into the water to try to catch it.

Swanson says depending on the amount of water being released through the Oahe Dam, the water can be around 10 feet deep in that area and have a strong current. He says rescuers were on scene for a little over half an hour when a Pierre Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Squad diver recovered Braun’s body about 15 yards from the ramp. He was not wearing a life jacket.

Rescuers were called shortly before 8 a.m. after receiving a 911 call because an unattended pickup and trailer were at the boat ramp and an empty boat was visible floating downstream.

Also aiding in the response were AMR Ambulance, the Fort Pierre Volunteer Fire Department, the Stanley County Coroner’s Office, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the state Game Fish & Parks Department.

This is the second drowning in the Pierre/Fort Pierre area of the Missouri River this month.

37-year-old Lee Weber jumped into the river July 3 to save his 8-year-old son who had fallen from a moving boat. The child was saved by a nearby boater. Weber wasn’t wearing a life jacket and was swept away by the river’s current. His body was found the afternoon of July 9.