Rescued family's boat taken from dam, returned

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Chief deputy dismisses talk of 'river law,' orders boat brought back

By Ben Carlson

The man whose family nearly died when his boat became hung up on a dam in the Kentucky River is not only thankful to be alive, but also to have his boat returned.

Travis Farley’s boat remained at Lock 5 in the river for several days after he and his family were rescued. Apparently someone came along, decided the boat was fair game, dragged it off the dam and hauled it away.

A Frankfort man allegedly took the boat and offered to return it only after Farley paid a salvage fee, according to Sheriff Troy Young.

That didn’t sit with the Chief Deputy Joe Milam, who told the Frankfort man that if he didn’t return the boat immediately, he would have him charged with theft.

“The guy was trying to quote river law to Joe,” Young said. “He wasn’t having anything to do with that and told him to get the boat returned, now.”

The man, who remains unidentified, apparently relented and took the boat back to the ramp and left it there. Deputies used a trailer to retrieve it a short time later.

Young said the fact that the boat was left behind in a rescue situation and remained on Kentucky River Authority property trumps any notion that it had been abandoned.

Young said Farley’s wife was undergoing medical treatment at the time and his office wasn’t about to let someone make off with his boat.

“We got it back for him,” Young said. “That family has been through enough.”

The incident took place May 27 when the Farleys were cruising the river for the first time. Unaware of the drop-off at the dam, the family’s boat became stuck on the dam and nearly went over several times while awaiting rescue.

Members of the Anderson County Fire Department, EMS and sheriff’s office eventually got close enough to the boat to move Farley’s wife and two small children to safety.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.