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Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Matthew Tobben (right) with his wife Jacquelynn Tobben. They have two boys ages 13 and 9 (photo courtesy of Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Gale Blomenkamp)

(LISTEN): Boone County Fire Protection District official who drowned Monday taught swift water rescues

Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Matthew Tobben (right) with his wife Jacquelynn Tobben. They have two boys ages 13 and 9 (photo courtesy of Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Gale Blomenkamp)

The Boone County Fire Protection District chief is asking you to keep the family of fallen assistant fire chief Matt Tobben in your prayers at this time.

Chief Scott Olsen tells reporters that Mr. Tobben drowned while conducting rescue operations during flash flooding early Monday morning at Rangeline and Bear creek, near the Casey’s:

“Assistant chief Tobben was managing one of our rescue boats with a Columbia firefighter on board, and they went upstream from that location and rescued two individuals that were trapped. They were coming back downstream when the boat overturned and all were thrown out of the boat,” Olsen says.

The Columbia firefighter and the two pedestrians who were originally rescued resurfaced and were brought to safety. Mr. Tobben did not resurface and drowned.

Mr. Tobben taught swift water rescues and was involved in the rescue of an elderly motorist trapped in floodwaters near Columbia’s Gillespie Bridge last Wednesday, according to Boone County Fire assistant chief Gale Blomenkamp. Mr. Blomenkamp tells reporters that the Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating Monday morning’s deadly incident:

“During the rescue operation after they had made the rescue of the two individuals, they called out a Mayday for the boat had lost power. So when they lost power they called for the Mayday as the boat was then being carried downstream is when it capsized and all four occupants of the boat were thrown out at that point. Chief Tobben never did resurface when he was thrown out. He did make one attempt to grab a tow line but after that he was not seen again,” says Blomenkamp.

Mr. Blomenkamp says assistant chief Tobben had been a member of Columbia-based Missouri Task Force One since 2012 and started with the Boone County Fire Protection District as training chief in May. Tobben previously spent 19 years with the fire department in eastern Missouri’s Union.

Mr. Tobben is survived by his wife Jacquelynn and two sons, ages 13 and 9, according to Mr. Blomenkamp.

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