NEAR GOVERNMENT CAMP — A footbridge across the Sandy River at Ramona Falls washed away Tuesday afternoon as a thunderstorm brought heavy rain. The river level went up several feet fairly quickly and the storm caused flash flooding.
A man on a hike with his wife standing on the bridge was swept away and drowned. The body of Brent Ludwig, 34 from New Lenox, Illinois was found more than a mile downstream.
Nearly two dozen other hikers held on for life. They weren’t able to cross the river because the water was too high.
Witnesses had to hike more than a mile to a parking lot and drive several more miles to get cell phone service.
It took several hours for rescuers to ferry 23 people and their gear across the swollen river in small rafts.
The temporary bridge is put in place each spring and removed in the fall.