Man dies white water rafting at Piers Gorge

An Illinois man has died following a rafting accident on the Menominee River at Piers Gorge Tuesday afternoon.

The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department received a call just before 2 p.m. that a man was trapped in the rapids following an accident.

According to the Sheriff’s Department,  59 year-old Mark Fackler of Mundelein, Illinois drowned after he was thrown from his raft after it hit a rock in the rapids.

While the female who was also riding on the raft was able to swim to safety, Fackler was trapped under the rock by the current and never came up.

Local law enforcement, along with fire and rescue crews, immediately began rescue efforts.  Attempts to reach the area of the rapids where Fackler was trapped were unsuccessful due to the strength of the water flow.

Using the dam above the rapids, crews were able to reduce the water flow and reached the rock in the rapids where the man was trapped.

At 4:16 p.m., rescuers were able to locate the trapped rafter.  He was taken to shore and was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was wearing a life jacket and helmet at the time of the accident.

The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Michigan State Police, Marinette County Sheriff’s Office, Norway Township Fire, Breitung Township Fire, North Alert Ambulance, Beacon Ambulance, The Red Cross, and River Rescuers from area rafting companies.

Dickinson County Sheriff Celello issued an appreciation to the numerous citizens who helped and offered to help in the rescue.  Rescue operations were started by the trained white water rafting river guides employed by Northwoods Adventures.  Those individuals also contacted all area rafting companies for assistance.