Body of missing man recovered, woman killed after crash on Rend Lake

Published: Jun. 26, 2012 at 7:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM CDT
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Crews found the body of a Florida man in Rend Lake Wednesday morning.
Crews found the body of a Florida man in Rend Lake Wednesday morning.
Arnold Wyrick gathers details at the scene.
Arnold Wyrick gathers details at the scene.

REND LAKE, IL (KFVS) - Search crews have recovered the body of a missing man after two boats collided on Rend Lake Tuesday afternoon.

One woman has also died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones and Franklin County Coroner Marty Leffler confirm the body of Larry Smithhart, 38, from Florida has been recovered from the lake. His body was found around 11:10 a.m. Wednesday in eight feet of water.

His wife is traveling from Florida. Smithhart was a boat tester with Bombardier Boat Co.

Were told his parents live in Carmi, Illinois.

An autopsy on the woman killed in the crash is being conducted. She was found on land.

Authorities say three men were on one boat and a man and a woman were on the other. The boats crashed into each other and one of the men in the boat that had three people on it was seriously hurt. He had to be airlifted to a St. Louis hospital.

The woman on the other boat was airlifted to St. Louis where she later died.  The man on that boat was Larry Smithhart. He was the man who was missing.

Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones says searchers did everything they could to find the man.

"We do have some sonar equipment. The Department of Natural Resources and The Army Corps of Engineers both have what they tell me is side scan sonar,"  Sheriff Jones said on Tuesday. "Which is sophisticated sonar equipment to attempt to locate this individual if he's in the water."

According to the US Army Corps of engineers, the boats collided toward the center of the lake. This is in the area of the lake north of Highway 154 and west of Interstate 57.

"Anytime you go a high rate of speed you got to be careful," said Capt. Jerry Hiller, IDNR Conservation Police. "You don't have a lot of time to react. Most don't have brakes."

A man who witnessed the crash tells Heartland News that his granddaughters were on an inner tube in the water went the two fast moving boats collided and one ran full throttle into shore. He says being so close to the tragedy kept he and his family off of the water today and made them ponder all of the what if's of this situation.

In a statement released by BRP, the company reported that two of the employees were from BRP and three were from MIlsco, a BRP supplier were on a trail ride when they crashed.

BRP says they are assessing and focused on the needs of the family members and others involved. BRP says they are taking "all appropriate actions to meet those needs."

The entrance to Rend Lake was shut down while emergency crews launched their search.

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