VAN METER, Iowa – Police have released the name of a man who fell off his inner tube while floating on the Raccoon River Sunday, after his body was recovered Tuesday morning.
Van Meter Police Chief William Daggett confirmed to WHO 13 that the body of 34-year-old Ricco Morrow, of Des Moines, was located in the river southeast of Van Meter near the Prairie Village Mobile Home Park.
Emergency crews were originally called to the river in an area near Van Meter on Sunday afternoon after Morrow fell from his inner tube into the water and disappeared. Crews searched the river until dark Sunday and resumed their search on Monday.
Chief Daggett said it happened at a spot on the river upstream of Van Meter where construction crews were doing work on a bridge over I-80. The crews had diverted the river’s flow using large, corrugated metal tubes, like culverts. Daggett said Morrow’s mother told him her son was tubing with some people when two teens in the group got sucked into the tubes, and he tried to help them. That’s when he fell off his tube and didn’t resurface.
“The mother this morning and I had a conversation. The group that he (Morrow) was with informed her that he was trying to get to the two teenagers that were pulled in and keep people back. And he got pulled in,” said Daggett.
Crews from the Van Meter Police Department, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Van Meter Fire & Rescue, and Adel Fire & Rescue were continuing to search the river Tuesday when Morrow’s body was located.
According to Daggett, the DNR had spoken to the Iowa Department of Transportation about placing signs upstream of the bridge construction to warn those on the river about the dangerous conditions. The department confirmed on Tuesday that the correct signage was out there on Sunday.
“The Iowa DOT has worked with the DNR to place signs to warn those on the river of the construction and discourage use of that area. We have confirmed that those signs were in place at the time of the incident.”Andrea Henry, Director of Strategic Communications for the Iowa Department of Transportation
Chief Daggett told WHO 13 that he is planning to have the Van Meter Fire Department completely shut down access to the river starting at the Puckerbrush access. He plans to put a lot of signage up warning people of the dangers and would also like to place a physical barrier in the river with signs on it, much like the chain barrier across the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines.