Autopsy to complete investigation in SL drowning

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Steven McCollough

Officials await the results of an autopsy as they investigate the drowning death of Steven McCollough, 64, of Storm Lake, who died Friday evening during a pleasure boating outing on Storm Lake near South Cove.

McCollough was pulled out of the water near the south shore neighborhood, and was unconscious and not breathing. It was initially reported that McCollough had stepped off the boat and gone under. Witnesses later suspected that he may have suffered a sudden heart attack or other medical emergency, and fallen from the boat.

McCollough was pleasure boating with a group of people as dusk came on, when others heard a splash, and then saw McCollough floating face down in the water. Rescuers jumped into the water and attempted to pull the victim to shore. A 911 call was placed at 9:05 p.m. from a boat in the vicinity, with deputies and paramedics from Buena Vista County Regional Medical Center responding, struggling to find the scene of the attempted rescue in the growing darkness.

By the time authorities arrived, CPR was already being performed on McCollough, and the sheriff's department additionally applied a portable defibulator to try to restart his heart. Paramedics continued CRP as they transported him to the hospital, but by then the victim had been unresponsive for about 30 minutes. He was later pronounced dead at the medical center. The body was transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny where an autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death. Results are expected late this week.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 18, at the United Methodist Church in Storm Lake. Burial will be at a later date. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, at the Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home. The family has established a memorial fund in Steve's memory to the foundation at the Faith, Hope & Charity facility, where he was a longtime employee.

It has been a tragic season on area waters. Two other drownings have been investigated in recent weeks on East Okoboji in June and earlier this month on the Little Sioux River near Linn Grove, where another Storm Lake man lost his life.

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