A canoeing accident has left a Diamond teen-ager dead, while another was rescued from the chilly waters of Shoal Creek Monday evening.


A canoeing accident has left a Diamond teen-ager dead, while another was rescued from the chilly waters of Shoal Creek Monday evening.

Two teens, Wesley Wood, 17, and Houston Lietzke, 19, were canoeing from Allen Bridge to Lime Kiln Park Monday when the incident took place. According to Greg Hickman, Neosho fire chief, the men were swept downstream to a dam, where strong undertows pulled them beneath the chilly water’s surface.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 6:24 p.m., arriving there for minutes later.

“On arrival, we found one individual trapped by the water going over the dam, and the other person was not visible,” Hickman said. “Crews worked to get over to the individual and were able to get a line to them and help him get out of the water.”

That person was Lietzke, who was treated for hypothermia at Freeman Neosho Hospital. Crews had to bridge between 50- and 75-feet of distance to reach Lietzke.

Hickman said firefighters called the Newton County Dive Rescue Team to assist, who found Wood trapped in brush downstream from the dam. He was taken to Joplin’s Freeman West Hospital, and was pronounced dead on arrival.

“The first person removed from the water was treated for hypothermia,” Hickman said. Speaking about Wood, Hickman added: “Sometimes, in water that cold, there is a chance of survivability, but not in this case.”

It is estimated that Lietzke was in the water for at least 20 minutes.

Hickman said the men were either trying to cross the dam in their canoe, or were trying to load the craft into a truck when it got away from them and they went to retrieve it.