News: Neillsville - Canoeist Search Ends (May 1974)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Thompson, Short, Woods, Suckow, Mickschl
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 5/09/1974
Canoeist Search Ends (Black River - 9 May 1974)
After 24 days during which an estimated 1,500 hours of time, or more, had been devoted to search, Black River last Wednesday afternoon yielded the body of Ronald Thompson, 24-year-old Blair canoeist who lost his life trying to shoot the rapids with his bride-to-be.
Thompson’s body was located by a search plane piloted by Glenn Short, with Undersheriff Tom Woods as a lookout, 200 to 300 yards upstream from the island on which the body of his fiancé had been found 12 days earlier.
A piece of white clothing was spotted from the air just shortly after a boat containing searchers had passed through the series of rapids above the island. Using two-way radio communications, the airplane spotter directed ground search parties to the location.
It was theorized that Thompson’s body had been caught and held against rocks at the head of one of the swift rapids until the boat going through the area dislodged it enough to be floated to the surface.
The area in which the body was found is directly west of the Francis Suckow farm in the Town of Weston, about four and a quarter miles downstream from the rapids in which their boat had capsized.
Finding of the body ended a long, long vigil for an unknown number of volunteers, who included farmers of the area, city folks, members of the Blair Canoeist club to which Thompson and his fiancé, Miss Tony Mickschl, 22, belonged, civil defense workers and sheriff’s department employees. Some of them said they spent as much as 60 hours searching along the County Trunk OO Bridge to as far south as the Highway 95 Bridge.
Thompson’s body was badly decomposed.
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