CORUNNA – An Owosso man drowned in the Shiawassee River Thursday after he went over the Heritage Park Dam in a kayak. Charles M. Orgovan, 32, died at Memorial Healthcare shortly after rescuers pulled his body from the east side of the river. Williams said Orgovan was caught in the current just below the more than century-old concrete dam and emergency crews couldn’t get to him until the river kicked him free.Orgovan was unresponsive when rescuers from the Corunna-Caledonia Fire Department pulled him out of the water about 4:25 p.m. Williams warned people to stay away from any dam. According to the National Weather Service, the Shiawassee River was at 6.25 feet at 1:15 a.m. Friday. Flood stage is 7 feet.
“That dam is never safe. There is no way you can go in there to get anyone out,” Williams said. “If you go in there, all you get is a body count.” Williams said Orgovan was an emergency medical technician for Corunna Area Ambulance.Lenora Acord said she ran down to Heritage Park Thursday after seeing ambulances and police driving down Shiawassee Street. “I saw him [splashing] around,” she said. “I could hear him yelling and shortly after that he started floating face down.”
Acord said rescue crews first were on the west side of the river in the park, but had to go over to the east side of the river to get Orgovan. Williams said Orgovan’s wife and children watched from the west side of the river as he struggled against the current and was later pulled out.
The last fatality at the dam was in 1965, he said. Wayne Fickes was doing some handy work outside Johnson & Sons Piano Co. when he saw the commotion. Then he saw a partially submerged lime green kayak floating down the river. “It was so waterlogged, I thought there was a body in there,” he said.– Contact Dominic Adams at 725-5136 extension 239 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.