Name Released in Fatal Drowning on Wapsipinicon River

By Forrest Saunders and Katelynn McCollough, KCRG-TV9 & The Gazette

TROY MILLS, Iowa — A peaceful afternoon at home for Carol Hedberg was interrupted by screaming coming from the nearby Wapsipinicon River, around five Saturday evening.

“First, I thought it was just some people playing out on the river. I live right by the dam and then all of a sudden I heard a man yelling. I realized there was something wrong,” Hedberg said.

Something was wrong. According to authorities and eyewitnesses four people had been drifting down the river in tubes. The group was swept over what’s left of the damaged dam under the Troy Mills bridge.

“Suddenly three people surfaced and came out, down here and I realized there was one still in the water,” Hedberg said.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office said rescuers searched the dam area and recovered the body of an adult female who had drowned in the swift current. The woman was identified Sunday as Andrea Zimmermann, 29, of Cedar Rapids.

Three other individuals, Robert Olinger, 32 of Cedar Rapids, Zachary Kirton, 27 of Shellsburg and Amanda Harper, 31 of Palo, were also tubing with Zimmermann. All four individuals went over the dam, but Olinger, Kirton and Harper were able to make it safely to shore, officials said.

The release stated that rescue workers were able to recover Zimmerman’s body on Saturday, though she drowned in the swift current.

“Below the roller dam, it’s got a suction that pulls you in. You can’t get boats close to it, inner tubes or any kind of water craft. You simply can’t get next to roller dams,” said Major Gerald Hansel, with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

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