Heyworth, IL Boating Accident On Pit, May 1959


Heyworth, May 5 (Special)
Skin divers and firemen continue to search a water-filled gravel pit near here today for the body of the sixth victim of a boating tragedy Monday.
A rural Heyworth couple and four of their eight children drowned when their boat capsized Monday in the gravel pit one mile west of Heyworth on Route 136.
Workers started portable pumps at 2 a.m. today to drain the pit, and had lowered it about a foot by mid-morning. The pit covers about five acres.
The victims were LAWRENCE BRADLEY, 35, his wife, BETTY, 32, three of their daughters, DEBORAH, 7, LAURA JEAN, 3, and FLORENCE, 2, and a son, DANNY, 4.
A fifth child in the boat, SUSAN, 6, was rescued by a fisherman who later told newsmen:
"If I had had help I could have saved more."
Another of the BRADLEY couple's children witnessed the tragedy from shore. Two other children did not accompany the family on the ill-fated after school outing.
The bodies of the parents, DEBORAH and LAURA JEAN were recovered first by police and firemen assisted by skin divers.
The body of DANNY was found later just before nightfall.
Work continued with the aid of floodlights as searchers sought the body of 2-year-old FLORENCE.

Swam to Rescue.
The lone survivor of the boating party, SUSIE, 6, was rescued by Carl Wunder, 27, a Heyworth machinist who was fishing nearby. He swam to aid the threshing victims when he heard their cries for help.
A son, Ronnie, 12, had remained on shore while the seven other members of the family embarked in the boat to try out a relative's new outboard motor.
Also surviving are two daughters, who were not on the scene. They are Mrs. Charles Mandrell, 16, of Clinton, and Sharon Bradley, 14, at home.
McLean County authorities said they learned the Bradleys waited until after school to take the children on the outing to the gravel pit.
The five bodies recovered so far have been taken to the Iseminger Fineral Home in Heyworth where funeral arrangements are incomplete.

The Decatur Daily Review Illinois 1959-05-05