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Irvin Charles Ahrens (1895-1925)


Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 5/21/2011 at 00:25:11

Jewell Record - Thursday, July 2, 1925


Irvin Ahrens, 30, a farmer living five miles west of Story City, was drowned about 6 o'clock Sunday while fishing at Fraser dam in the Des Moines River northwest of Boone. Ahrens and his brother-in-law, Henry Kreutner, a garage man of Story City, were fishing from a boat, anchored below the dam. The boat, drifting near the falls, was caught in the whirlpool and swamped, throwing both men into the water.

Kreutner swam to shore, but Ahrens sunk just before reaching safety. The two were seen while fishing and throughout the tragedy that took Ahrens' life, by M.D. Griffith, Roy Griffith, Loyal Thomas and Dave Bappe, of Ames, who with a crowd of other persons were on the bank fishing, helpless to render assistance.

Heavy clothing and hip boots are thought to have played an important part in bringing about Ahrens' death. The two men pulled out in a boat early in the morning and cast anchor not far from another boat which was laying off shore near the power house while its two occupants were fishing. Later the other boat hauled anchor and pulled across the stream to the opposite shore, while Ahrens and Kreutner decided to try the place the other fishers had abandoned. In the act of bringing their boat to that position they were caught in the current and hurled on until their boat was imprisoned between the dam and the breakwater. The activities of the undercurrent at this point tended to pull the boat, in which they were riding, back toward the foot of the dam. The two men, in their excitement, stood up as a large quantity of water fell into the boat, and the small craft turned over, pitching the men into the water.

Fate favored Kreutner and he struggled with the current until his foot struck a place sufficiently shallow to allow him to stand up. But Ahrens was drawn in by the treacherous undercurrent and never appeared on the surface again until his body was recovered by a diver who had to tie a rope around his waist in order to safely penetrate the water at the dangerous point of the tragedy.

The large number of witnesses on shore were helpless. Some ventured to make a rescue attempt, it was said, but the raging waters could not be combatted. Mr. Ahrens was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ahrens of Story City. Funeral arrangements pend word from a brother on the Pacific coast.


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