Rafters Will Return With Memorial Wreath

Three men rescued from the Illinois River canyon after a surge of water flipped their rafts and killed one of their companions plan to return to the site next weekend.

Mitch McDougal, Rick Carver and Kirk Wilkins say they will accompany their friend’s grown son, Gary Byars, down the river to the spot where Gale Byars died on March 22, a day shy of his 63rd birthday.

Then they will put ashore and place a wreath.

“We will never stop running rivers,” McDougal said. “That’s what Gale would have wanted.”

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