Conservation officers investigating deaths of two Ohio River boaters

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 19, 2021) — Conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are investigating the deaths of two brothers whose bodies were recovered Saturday morning from the Ohio River in Ballard County following an apparent boating incident.

Conservation officers responded to a call shortly before 6:30 a.m. (CDT) of a boat floating upside down on the Ohio River just north of the U.S. 51 bridge connecting Wickliffe, Kentucky to Cairo, Illinois. The 17-foot aluminum boat was severely damaged.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. (CDT), an angler reported finding a body near Ohio River mile marker 977. The victim was identified as Raymond Sheffer, 60, of Sweetwater, Texas. A short time later, a towboat located a second body near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, later identified as Wendell Sheffer, 63, of Metropolis, Illinois.

The men reportedly launched the boat Friday evening from Joppa, Illinois and had not been reported missing. Neither man was wearing a life jacket when found.

Conservation officers were assisted at the scene by the Ballard County Rescue Squad and first responders from Cairo, Illinois.

The bodies will be taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville, where an autopsy will be performed.

The incident remains under investigation.

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