Girl, 7, drowns in Pecatonica River

Lafayette Co Sheriff Squad

TOWN OF WIOTA, Wis. — A 7-year-old girl drowned Saturday night in the Pecatonica River in Lafayette County.

According to Sheriff Reg Gill, the girl and two other young children went into the river near the County M boat landing just west of Woodford.  The river’s current swept the girl under the water and the other children could not reach her in time.

Search and rescue crews were called in just before 9 p.m.  Gill says “many, many private citizens” helped police, firefighters, deputies, and DNR teams search the river and surrounding area.  The Southwest Wisconsin Regional Technical Rescue Team eventually found the girl’s body at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Heavy rain fell Friday night and Saturday morning in parts of southwest Wisconsin, but totals in nearby Monroe indicate that area received about .45 inches.  The rain does not appear to have impacted the river’s depth significantly.  A gauge in Martintown — about 12 miles south of Woodford — rose from 5.6 feet to 5.9 feet from Friday to Saturday.  Flood stage in Martintown starts at 13.5 feet.

Gil noted the Argyle Police Department, Woodford Fire and First Response, Argyle Fire and EMS, Darlington Fire, Gratiot Fire, Blanchardville Police Department, Green County Sheriff’s Office, South Wayne Fire, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Southwest Wisconsin Regional Technical Rescue Team, and the Lafayette County Coroner’s Office all helped the sheriff’s office on scene.

The girl has not been publicly identified.

The DNR reports at least five drownings among 12 boating-related deaths in Wisconsin in 2021 through June 21.  Two children drowned in Racine County last Sunday and two others were pulled safely from Lake Michigan the following day.