Siouxlander speaks of trying to save friend from drowning - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Siouxlander speaks of trying to save friend from drowning

OTO, Iowa (KTIV) -

After a three hour search and recovery effort by the Siouxland Dive Team, Iowa DNR, Woodbury County Conservation, and Oto Ambulance, a 23-year-old Ida County man's body was found in the Little Sioux River in Oto, Iowa.

The man was reported missing around 10:30a.m. after he was hanging out with three friends by the river.

"Rescue units were on scene in about 20-25 minutes and searched the waters," Jim Bauerly of the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office said.

Three friends were with the man before he fell into the river. One of the victim's friends, Ben Stickney, tried to save his friend before crews arrived on scene, but the current was too strong.

"I heard a stumble, and I saw him fall out of the corner of my eye, and he fell in. He was kind of panicking, flailing around. I jumped in right after that, of course, " Stickney said.

Stickney said the swift current pulled him under. But, at first, he managed to hold on to his friend. Then, he said, they both got pulled under again, and that's when he lost him.

"His foot got wedged underneath a rock and I couldn't get him to move. The current was so strong. It was really deep there, and I couldn't get down there to unhook him. I tried to get down there one more time, and I started sucking water in," Stickney said.

Stickney said he thought he was going to drown too.

While they waited for emergency crews to arrive, Stickney said all he could think about was his friend.

"Hope to God that something miraculous is going to happen, but then you kind of capture reality, and then you realize, well, he's not coming back," Stickney said.

"They're upset, especially the friend that tried to save him," Bauerly said.

Stickney said, "All I can say is, I did my best, I did all that I could. I just hope he knows that."

The body was recovered at 2p.m. from the same area where his friends had last seen him and then it was taken for an autopsy.

Authorities said they will most likely release the man's name tomorrow.

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