Indiana Boy Scouts, fishermen credited with saving brothers whose kayaks capsized

Mississinewa Lake/File photo from DNR

PERU, Ind. – A Boy Scout troop and two fishermen are credited with saving the lives of two brothers whose kayaks capsized over the weekend in Miami County.

According to the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, members of Boy Scout Troop 69 from Zionsville made the initial 911 call. The scouts were hiking Saturday morning when they heard someone yelling for help in the Mississinewa Lake.

Two scouts—Samir Bhatt and Mason Doyle—went to investigate and saw two kayakers in the water. They ran to the boat ramp area in an attempt to get help while another troop member called 911.

The kayakers, identified as brothers Timothy and Jimmy Ratliff, had been out fishing when Timothy’s kayak capsized. Jimmy heard his brother yelling and went to help; as Timothy was getting back onto his kayak, Jimmy’s kayak tipped backward and both fell into the water.

As the scouts gave information to emergency dispatchers, two fishermen—Steve Bura and Bill Mullins—were on their way back to the boat ramp. They noticed the kayaks and went to help. Bura and Mullins pulled the kayakers onto their boat and took them to the boat ramp.

Police said another group also saw the kayakers and ran to the DNR office for help.

The brothers estimated they were in the water for up to an hour before being rescued. A third member of their group had gone ahead and became separated from the brothers; he was found safe in his kayak. All three were wearing lifejackets.

“The swift action by members of Boy Scout Troop 69 and the two fishermen undoubtedly saved the lives of the two kayakers,” the sheriff’s department said.