In July 17-23 issueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
LEFT: Robert Frenya, foreground, watches as his upturned boat is recovered from the water at the base of Wolf Creek Dam on Sunday.
WOLF CREEK DAM - Venturing too near the outflow from Wolf Creek Dam caused rushing water to flip a boat, sending two men and a teenager into the strong undertow.
Sunday, July 13, Robert Frenya said his fishing buddy Charlie Wise wanted to get closer to the dam.
"I just never thought it would pull us that far and flip us like that," Frenya said. "I just had the trolling motor in. I didn't have time to drop the Johnson back down."
Frenya is the camp host at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Kendall Campground. His fishing buddies were campers Charlie Wise, 76 and Nathan Reynolds, 15.
All three were safe and sound after drying out.
"Equipment can be replaced, people can't," Frenya said. "Lord wasn't ready to take us."
For his part Wise said the water was cold, but not as cold as the time he nearly drowned in a glacial stream while fishing in Washington State.
Reynolds had just taken his sweatshirt off and was in the process of putting his life vest back on when the boat threw him.
"The boat started twisting and then flipped over and I went in," the teen said. "I tried to hold on to the boat but the water pulled me under. It pulled me to the bottom and I pulled myself free of the current and came up."
Frenya said he'd only had one strap securing his vest and it was ripped off him and he had to fight his way to the surface and grab the side of the boat.
He said he'd tried to grab Reynolds as the boat rolled, but the force of the water pulled the teen from his grasp.
The three walked back to the water's edge as a Kentucky Fish & Wildlife officer used another boat to pull theirs free of the current up by the dam. He and another man pulled the boat to a barr and turned it over.
Reynolds, used a limb to snag some of their equipment as it floated in the river.
Adding insult to injury, all three said the fishing that day hadn't even been good.
Bystanders fishing along the river were credited with passing the word to call for help when the men had gone in the water and another boater paddled his canoe over to help the men to shore.