Two rescued after driving truck into Turkey River in Elkader - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

NEW DETAILS: Names released in Turkey River rescue

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Clayton County Register Clayton County Register

LATEST UPDATE: KWWL has learned the names of those involved in the Turkey River rescue in Elkader on Wednesday.

The Clayton County Sheriff's Office says the driver, 86-year-old George Balekos, and 54-year-old Valerie Timmerman were rescued from the truck. The sheriff's office says the truck was completely underwater with Balekos trapped inside. 

Authorities say Balekos was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with life-threatening injuries. Timmerman was treated for non-life threatening injuries. 

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. 


UPDATE: Two people sent to the hospital after driving a pickup truck into the river.

It happened in Elkader around 2:30 pm, Wednesday. 

A white pickup truck flying off the cliff behind the parking lot of the Clayton County Court House and then plunging into the Turkey River with two people inside.

The man and woman rescued from the Turkey River by emergency crews.

The Elkader Fire Chief telling KWWL this crash could have easily been deadly.

Volunteer emergency response teams working quickly to get to the people in the truck.

Brett Eaton was one of the first firefighters on scene.

"The boat probably took a good ten minutes. In the meantime, we were getting blankets and life jackets. We had two guys in ice rescue suits that went into the water," said Eaton.

The woman in the passenger seat was able to crawl on top of the truck by herself.

"When the male was in the driver seat, he was right up to the bottom of his throat. It was sinking rapidly, but it was all they way to the bottom as far as we could tell," said Elkader Fire Chief Scott Marmann.

Like many in Elkader, those in the library across the river watched with bated breath.

"Oh my goodness. We were hoping when we saw here that she was the only one and then when they came down and opened the door and pulled the second person out, a lot of us started praying and hoping they were okay," said Carol Hauge, who works at the Library.

 After saving the people, crews working on pulling the truck back up the cliff.

The recovery of the truck taking more than an hour.

The driver was airlifted to Iowa City and the woman also taken to the hospital. Their conditions are unknown at this time.

It is not clear what caused the crash. It remains under investigation.


Two people are taken to the hospital after driving into the Turkey River.  Deputies are currently on scene near High and Bridge Streets in Elkader.

They say the two were rescued from the truck, which can be seen submerged in the river.  Their condition is not known.

We have a crew on the way and will pass along more details when they become available.

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