Critics question use, safety of low-head dams

EDINBURGH, Ind. - As friends and family mourned the second of two teens who died this week from a drowning near Edinburgh, they also raised concerns about where and how their loved ones died.

Seventeen-year-old Jason Moran and 16-year-old Michael Chadbourne are being hailed as heroes for trying to save another teen from drowning after she slipped and was carried over the Big Blue River Dam in Edinburgh one week ago.

Moran's body was recovered on Sunday. Chadbourne passed away on Wednesday from injuries sustained in the incident. A third teenager remained in critical condition.

"It's not surprising that those guys wouldn't hesitate to try to save a friend," said Steven Chadbourne, Michael's uncle.

The deaths have united Franklin, which was covered in blue ribbons this week as a sign of unity for the teens' grieving friends and family.

"A lot of teachers have heavy hearts as well because they were teachers to Jason and Michael, and so this has affected the whole community," said Franklin teacher Sandra Brooks.

The tragedy has also raised concerns about the safety of the dam and the dangerous currents in high water that the teens faced.

Low-head dams like the one in Edinburgh were built to control water flow and, in some cases, generate hydroelectricity. But many now serve no purpose and should be removed, according to opponents.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has worked to remove low-head dams, citing environmental and public safety concerns. Fifty of the dams have been removed in Ohio over the past half century.

A benefit motorcycle ride was scheduled for next Sunday at Franklin Community High School.

Print this article Back to Top