6-Year-Old Saved from Rushing Raccoon River

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VAN METER, Iowa — Three young men were honored in Van Meter for saving a child from drowning over the weekend.

Austin Rice, Thomas Rice and Austin Matter saved the 6-year-old after he was hung up on some debris while tubing with his family on the Raccoon River Sunday. Police say the family underestimated the speed and depth of the river.

“The current took them straight into the debris,” said Van Meter Police Chief William Daggett, “The family, who there’s seven of them, six of them were able to make it over to a sand bar just off to the side of the debris. But Ethan (the victim) got stuck in the debris. The water was pushing him under the debris.”

Austin Rice heard the child screaming for help and the three jumped in the water to save him. “We tried to get in the water to get to him,” Rice said. “(It) didn’t work because the current was so strong and we got back on land, and that’s when I decided to take a leap of faith and jumped on to some of the trees in the water and just kinda climbed my way over,” Rice said.

The three helped get the child back to his family. Rescue crews say, with the way the water was moving, the child probably would have been killed if the three hadn’t stepped in when they did.


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