Crews Recover Body Of Lyle Eagle Tail
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
March 16, 2013 8:02 PM
After nearly 45 hours of searching the Big Sioux River at Falls Park, crews found the body of 28-year-old Lyle Eagle tail. The search for Eagle Tail was called off of Friday night and resumed Saturday morning at 8.
"It's some area that we had been previously through already, so that just goes to show how treacherous it is,” said Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief Jeff Helm.
On Saturday morning, a 45 member crew resumed searching for 28-year-old Lyle Francis Eagle Tail’s body.
“We worked an area from where they fell in to the Low Head Dam about 200 feet down. And figured that's where the body was most likely to be recovered,” Helm said.
Along with 16-year-old Madison Wallace, Eagle Tail jumped into the Big Sioux River to save her younger brother, 6-year-old Garrett Wallace. The boy fell in but somehow emerged from the water. That’s when crews began searching the river, facing a number of obstacles. The cold temperatures, fast current and thick foam and ice turned the rescue mission into a recovery effort.
"Ice chunks still floating down there, and it's murky and you can't see, and there's rocks so it was a challenge getting through there,” said Helm.
At around 2:30 Friday afternoon, crews found Wallace’s body. Then on Saturday, 24 hours later, crews found Eagle Tail's body.
"And they had found an area that was about 12 feet deep, and they were suspicious because something just didn’t feel right down there. And they kept working that until they discovered that's where Lyle was located,” said Helm.
The bodies were found only 100 feet from one another near the Low Head Dam. Crews said they were not only battling the physical challenges of the Big Sioux, it was an emotional challenge as well.
"We understand the feelings that are involved with this. So we want some closure on that. And it's a great comfort to us all, if we can have some closure for the family," said Helm.
Two lives lost, but remembered for their heroism.
Crews from Pierre as well as Lake Okoboji assisted Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, the Sioux Falls Police Department and Minnehaha County Emergency Management in Saturday’s recovery.
After the recovery effort was through, crews quickly picked up their gear. Falls Park reopened to the public at 4:30 p.m.