Tulsa Wildlife Volunteer Drowns In Cimarron River

Wednesday, June 15th 2011, 2:32 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

GUTHRIE, Oklahoma -- The body of a 22-year-old Tulsa man who disappeared Wednesday while doing volunteer work with the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the Cimarron River has been found.

Joshua Griffin's body was found in eight feet of water after a three-hour search by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Guthrie Fire Department. 

Trooper Betsy Randolph with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol calls the incident tragic, and said Griffin went under water around noon.

Randolph said a member of the Department of Fish and Wildlife along with a handful of volunteers were skimming the Cimarron River searching for a fish called the Arkansas Shiner.

According to Randolph the group was walking the river in about two feet of water when one of the volunteers fell into a hole in the river bottom.

Randolph said it appears the sand they were walking on gave way when the recent college graduate from Tulsa fell in.

According to witnesses Randolph says Griffin was frantic, and when others tried to help he would pull them down with him. Eventually Griffin went under and didn't surface.

According to the OHP most of the volunteers were not wearing life jackets.  One volunteer who attempted to rescue the victim was wearing a life jacket and one employee of the Department of Fish and Wildlife was wearing one as well.

"Why the volunteers didn't have vests on is unclear," Randolph said.  "I have spoke briefly with people in town who say with the sandy bottom these holes in the ground almost like quick sand are very common."