ATV Rider’s Body Recovered From Ferry Landing 

Emergency officials recovered a man’s body from the river at the Cave-in-Rock Ferry landing January 23.

The ferry was loading vehicles on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River about 8 p.m. when crew members noticed an all-terrain vehicle traveling down the ramp at the end of Illinois Route 1 on the Illinois side of the river at a high rate of speed. The side-by-side ATV then plunged into the river, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 spokesman Keith Todd said. 

Someone from the ferry office called the Hardin County (Ill.) Sheriff’s Office to report the incident, Dustin Dahmer, Hardin County (Ill.) Emergency Management Agency director, said.

When emergency responders arrived, they determined the ATV was submerged about 30 feet from the Illinois riverbank. Although they were able to recover the ATV quickly, there no was no sign of its rider, so a search and rescue effort began. The ferry stopped operations, and the U.S. Coast Guard issued a “slow roll order” to all river traffic, Dahmer said. The massive search involved approximately 17 different agencies assisting the Hardin County Emergency Management Agency from both Kentucky and Illinois, Dahmer said.

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Emergency responders recovered the 39-year-old man’s body at about 11:40 p.m., and the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office and Hardin County Coroner’s Office took over the investigation and notified the man’s next of kin. Dahmer withheld the name of the ATV rider.

The ferry resumed service on January 24 as scheduled. The Cave-in-Rock Ferry connects Ky. 91 in Crittenden County, Ky., with Ill. 1 in Hardin County, Ill. It normally operates from 6 a.m. to 9:50 p.m. daily, carrying about 500 vehicles a day across the Ohio River at Mile 881.0.