Man drowns in Elm Creek


August 5, 2013 - 12:00 AM

What started out as a lark, turned tragic Saturday afternoon when Zane Forbis-Burgardt, 23, Iola, drowned in a flooded part of Elm Creek.
Forbis-Burgardt and two companions, Aaron Browning, 22, Kansas City, and Austin Martell, 23, Iola, started down the rain-swollen creek in inflated innertubes. When they went over a small dam, the gushing current overturned their innertubes. The incident occurred just southwest of the south end of Buckeye Street.
Browning and Martell escaped from the water; Forbis-Burgardt didn’t.
His body was found about 9 a.m. Sunday not far below the dam, said Sheriff Bryan Murphy.
“By then, the creek had gone down some and it was easier to search,” Murphy said. “We had people in the water attached safety lines when the body was found.”
After the incident was reported at about 5 p.m. Saturday, rescuers converged on the creek.
A detachment from Iola Fire Department was joined by units from Chanute and Anderson County. A Highway Patrol helicopter, fitted with a device used to detect body heat, also was used.
Murphy said portable lights were set up at three points along the creek after dark Saturday night, with personnel at each watching for Forbis.
Iola, Allen County and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officers assisted in the search.