The families of three Illinois men who didn’t make it home from a fishing trip can’t believe the way their loved ones blew themselves to pieces on Thursday. The coroner is convinced it was an accident. These three buddies seem to be the reason why Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are all investigated by the same department.
Fishing with explosives
The coroner hasn’t said if alcohol was a factor but it certainly appears to be. Reports don’t say if any of the men smoked and what they were smoking on the fishing trip if they did.
They appear to have left the firearms at home but they definitely brought the explosives. Their names were released on Monday.
LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch issued an update statement on Monday naming three members of the same family as victims. Immer Rivera Tejada was 39. Described as “cousins and uncles,” also killed were 36-year-old Rafael and 26 year old Guillermo. They lived near Chicago.
The Rivera Tejada’s headed off to Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois well stocked with gear, including a can of black powder. Rangers say they appeared to have been fishing along a river before the blast killed them.
Ploch relates that the black powder was ignited Thursday evening in “a hole along the Illinois River.” He has two theories how the explosion happened. They were fishing with normal rods, not blasting fish to the surface.
The Coroner also notes there was “no device involved in the deadly explosion, although black powder can be used to make fireworks.” His crew was picking up pieces everywhere. “the men suffered “pretty extensive injuries,” he told reporters.
Two accidental theories
The blast was probably an accident, Ploch declares. “We’re not concerned (about) any public safety or any foul play,” First responders “were called to the area of Starved Rock State Park near the old Illinois Route 178 bridge at about 7:20 p.m,” Illinois State Police report.
“After more than five hours of searching, emergency crews found the bodies of three men” where they had been fishing. It wasn’t pretty. “With assistance from the State Police, the Kane County Bomb Squad Unit and the FBI, it was determined that the individuals appeared to have ignited a type of black powder substance along an area near the river bank.”
Ploch verifies “all three died from injuries related to the explosion.” The way he sees it, “the men had either lit the powder for entertainment or, more likely, they were trying to light a fire to cook food that was found nearby.”
Most men think it was the “entertainment” theory. Fishing trips are made for those sorts of exploits. The coroner mentioned that there were “pretty extensive injuries.” That means it was one of those truly “hold my beer” moments.
The fishing trip explosion happened “about 75 miles southwest of Chicago” and the investigation isn’t anywhere close to being concluded.
Several agencies are looking into the whole thing, including the Illinois State police and the FBI.