The body of a 35-year-old Fairfield man was spotted Monday morning on the west side of the Great Miami River, just upriver of the Black Street Bridge.
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office Monday afternoon identified him as Nathan Durbin. A man who was walking to work saw the body around 7:15 a.m. and called the emergency 911 system, prompting a response by Hamilton firefighters and police.
“The Hamilton Fire Department attempted a rescue but Durbin was deceased upon arrival,” the sheriff’s office announced.
Sheriff’s officials said that “nothing appears suspicious,” but noted an investigation is ongoing by deputies, with the cause of death not yet determined until the coroner’s investigation is finished.
“The river can look fun, but looks can be deceiving,” Sheriff Richard K. Jones said in a news release. “Be cautious when out on the water. It’s not even summer and we are already responding to these tragic calls.”
Maj. Mike Craft of the sheriff’s regional water rescue team said deputies were able to quickly identify Durbin using a “mobile-identification scanner for prints, and they actually got a fingerprint that we had taken from being in jail before that we had submitted into their system.
Craft said investigators “have no idea at this time” what Durbin was doing near the river. He said Durbin had not been reported missing earlier.
Since May 24, there also have been three near-drownings — an 11-year-old girl was rescued by citizens who were dedicating a memorial tree near the historic log cabin next to the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers monument, a 19-year-old man was rescued after breaking his leg while fishing and a 15-year-old boy was rescued by Hamilton firefighters while he was clinging to a rope that was hanging from a tree.
Safety officials say people should never underestimate the river, the strength of its currents or the objects beneath the water, such as tree limbs, stumps or rocks that legs, arms or clothing can get snagged on.
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