Kentucky Man Dies Trying to Save Girlfriend After She Was Knocked from Kayak into the Ohio River

When his girlfriend was thrown into the water, Travis Hughes tried to save her but never resurfaced

Signs warn of hazardous currents at the top of the George Rogers Clark boat ramp in Clarksville, Ind., in a Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps

A 28-year-old Kentucky man is dead after reportedly trying to save his girlfriend when her kayak flipped in the Ohio River.

According to ABC News, Travis Hughes was kayaking with his 31-year-old girlfriend Jamie Dunaway, and 30-year-old brother Mitchell Hughes in Clarksville, Indiana, on Saturday night around 9:30 p.m., when a wave hit Dunaway’s boat and threw her into the water.

PEOPLE confirmed the incident with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Agency (Indiana DNR) on Tuesday.

In a statement to PEOPLE, the Indiana DNR said that their preliminary investigation reveals Travis attempted to rescue Dunaway, but capsized his own kayak in the process and never resurfaced.

Dunaway was able to swim to a nearby island where she was later rescued from by the Clarksville Fire Department. Mitchell stayed behind in his kayak to search for his brother until the rescue team arrived.

Travis’ body was later found floating near a hydroelectric dam across from the George Rogers Clark boat ramp in Clarksville at around 11:30 p.m. local time. His body is currently being examined by the Clark County Coroner’s Office to confirm the cause of death and toxicology results are pending, according to the Indiana DNR.

None of the kayakers were wearing life jackets during the incident, according to the Indiana DNR. Indiana Conservation Officers urged boaters to always wear life jackets, regardless of the size of the waterway.

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