Two hunters swim to shore using floating decoys after a boat sinks on Webster Lake

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KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Indiana (WANE) – A hunter is hospitalized after his boat sank on Webster Lake Saturday morning.

Despite freezing temperatures and gusts of wind expected to reach 80 km/h, two 27-year-olds were out hunting waterfowl on Webster Lake near Epworth Forest.

Trenton Stackhouse of Milford and Darick Stiles of Warsaw quickly realized the conditions were too difficult to overcome.

The men attempted to collect their lures and return to the boat launch, when large waves overtook their jon boat and it began to sink.

Moments before their boat was completely submerged, Stackhouse and Stiles unsuccessfully attempted to put on their life jackets and had to grab several waterfowl decoys and a buoyant gun case for buoyancy to swim several hundred yards to at the shore.

Once ashore, Stackhouse became unresponsive due to severe hypothermia. Stiles entered an unoccupied house around 11:16 a.m. to find shelter to save Stackhouse. The alarm was raised and the Kosciusko County Dispatch Center was contacted by the security company.

When police arrived, Stackhouse was taken to hospital with severe hypothermia.

The incident is still under investigation.

Indiana Conservation Officers remind the public that Indiana law requires that life jackets be readily available and in good condition for all boat occupants while boating. Hunters using watercraft must also plan for severe environmental conditions associated with high winds and storms.

Response agencies include the North Webster Police Department, North Webster Fire Department, North Webster EMS, and Indiana Conservation Officers.

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