ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A member of a South St. Louis County family said they are very grateful for the efforts by rescuers to save five family members Tuesday night on the Mississippi River.
The U.S. Coast Guard was notified 7:30 p.m. that a fishing boat was in distress about a mile and a half south of the Poplar Street Bridge. Three men and a four year old boy and one year old girl were in the boat. The vessel was out of gas and became stuck in front of a barge.
Lt. Colin Fogarty a Coast Guard spokesman said that spot is very dangerous, "There`s a large undertow at that point, the water will actually move faster at that point right in front of the barge than anywhere else around the barrage creating a sucking undertow."
Two men on a tow got in a small rubber boat in efforts to rescue the five people. The undertow apparently capsized their boat and they went under. One rescuer survived and is okay. The other, 55 year old Kyle R. Hardman of Barbourville Kentucky died, pulled under the water even though he was wearing a life jacket.
Lt. Colin Fogarty said, "It was incredibly brave and heroic for those two men to launch that vessel in the current to go to save them and unfortunately they paid the ultimate price for that."
The Coast Guard is investigating.
The 3 men and two children were rescued by another craft and are fine. Kim Nguyen`s husband was in the boat. She said her family is 'very, very grateful' for the rescuers` efforts. They want to send their regards to Kyle Hardman`s family. The Nguyen family plans to attend his funeral.