Accident on the Water Claims the Lives of Two Illinois Duck Hunters on Opening Day

The names of the two men who lost their lives in a deadly accident on the first day of duck season have now been released. Rock Island Coroner Brian Gustafson tells us 50 year-old David Slater from Davenport and 42 year-old Thomas Trainer from Canton, Illinois were killed while duck hunting Saturday. Investigators say they were two of seven people on a jon boat when it collided with a concrete day marker. Officers are not releasing exactly what happened next, but we know three other people were seriously hurt. Police say just one person was wearing a flotation device when the accident happened.

This makes more than ten deaths on the river so far this year. It is a number DNR officers call devastating. That's why they are urging other hunters and other fall boaters to take extra precautions.

"I was out yesterday morning and I did hear the yelling and the hurt people out in front of me," said Duck Hunter Gary Carlson.

Carlson says "careful" is something he tries to be every time he takes his boat out to do a little duck hunting. He says it was extremely foggy out Saturday morning, so something like the day marker the boat hit could be very hard to see.

"When it is foggy like that I usually go real slow because you lose your bearings," he said.

However, Conservation Police say not everyone takes the extra time, especially on the first day of the season with excitement sometimes overshadowing common sense.

"I understand everyone is in a hurry to get to their blind, they want to get to their blind and like everyone else, I know you're running behind. The worst thing you can do is get on the water in the dark like that and be in a hurry," said Conservation Officer Tony Petriekis, Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Pertriekis says having a light or a flashlight handy and idling through the water will help hunter's see obstacles before it's too late. He says life jackets are also a must, especially with the dropping temperatures.

"The life jacket becomes that much more important because if you have that life jacket on with the cold water temperatures it will make it so you have a fighting chance. The majority of accidents I have had to handle, life jackets were instrumental in saving people's lives."

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