4 die, 2 survive in boating tragedy

A family that lost four people in a boating accident, says they feel some relief that at least everyone is accounted for.

The body of 2 year-old Xavier Lopez was found shortly after noon on Sunday near a bank close to the Fort Massac State Park boat ramp. 40 year-old Tina Rodriguez was found at 8:15 a.m. Sunday near the area of the Fort Massac boat ramp.  

We lost a lot of phenomenal people this weekend and they’re going to be truly missed,” Przybylo said.

Rodriguez’s brother, Ronald Przybylo is one of many family members who stood by the water in solidarity this weekend.

“We’ve had so much support friends, family, Facebook, people we didn’t even know showing support. I think that’s helped everybody deal with it, it’s not been just us by ourselves,” Przybylo said.

Lopez and Rodriguez, along with four others, were boating on the Ohio River Friday night when their boat hit Dam 52 in Brookport causing it to capsize.

4 year-old Emma Strawser and 40 year-old Frank Rosario died Friday night. Emma’s mother, Amber McIntosh, 23 and Rosario’s daughter Maria Rodriguez, 22, survived. They were pulled out by two U.S. Army Corps of Engineer employees.

“She’s lost her son and her daughter. She’s a pretty powerful person and hopefully she can get through this,” Przybylo said.

Przybylo said these deaths are everybody’s loss.

“Anybody who knows any of them knows they’re going to miss out on some phenomenal people, and a little boy and little girl who would’ve grown up to be some great people,” Przybylo said.

Przybylo said his sister had a strong personality, but a big heart.

“She was just a phenomenal person,” Przybylo said.

He said she was never without her husband Rosario.

“If they weren’t working they were together,” Przybylo said.

McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden, McCracken County Emergency Services Director Jerome Mansfield, Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon, Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse, and Massac County Sheriff Ted Holder stood together in support after the search.

“Obviously our hearts go out to the family of those that were lost in this horrific accident on the river,” Hayden said.

They urge the public to stay away from the dam.

“There are a lot of strong currents. It’s just a very, very, dangerous location to be in on a boat,” Hayden said.

 It’s a message Rodriguez’s brother couldn’t agree more with.

“Don’t underestimate anything and don’t be complacent just because you think it’s safe today, it may not be tomorrow,” Przybylo said.

Multiple agencies had been searching the Ohio River since Friday night including the McCracken Sheriff’s Department, McCracken County DES, Graves County Sheriff’s Department and rescue, Massac Fire Department and Rescue, the Metropolis Police Department, Brookport Police, Illinois State Police and the US Coast Guard.

The American Red Cross also provided disaster relief throughout the weekend.

The family says they’re looking for a funeral home that will take the four of them. They say it’s a big family and want to keep everyone together.

To help the family with these funeral costs you can go to their GoFund me page at http://www.gofundme.com/k92j2568

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