First responders were dispatched to Gillespie Lake shortly after 11 a.m. on Wednesday after a fish supply truck somehow made its way into the water.
The truck from Logan Hollow Fish Farm was stocking the lake when the truck’s brakes purportedly became disengaged sending the truck floating approximately 40 feet away from the boat ramp at the “new” lake. The truck was unloading 2,000 hybrid striped bass to help control the shad, another fish species in the lake, according to Gillespie Lake Superintendent Gary Thornhill.
“I was on the dock while the driver was using the restroom and I heard the air brakes, then saw the truck rolling into the lake,” Thornhill told The BenGil Post early Wednesday evening. “I went and got the gentleman from the bathroom, but it was too late.”
Thornhill said the driver of the truck was also the owner of Logan Hollow Fish Farm, which is located in Murphysboro, Illinois. The company’s website says the fish farm has over 60 ponds totaling about 180 acres of water.
In addition to the 2,000 hybrid striped bass delivered, Thornhill said Gillespie Lake also received 500 hybrid sunfish that were intended to be delivered to another client but released into Gillespie Lake to save the species.
Gillespie Fire Department was paged out at 11:02 a.m., according to a social media post by the agency. Thornhill said in addition to Gillespie Fire Department, the diving team from Litchfield Fire Department was also dispatched and Illinois Department of Natural Resources was on-hand to witness the event. Davis Towing of Carlinville was recruited to pull the supply truck from the lake after divers secured chains to the truck.
The Gillespie Fire Department and Thornhill confirmed there were no injuries reported and no fuel leaks during the incident.
“The company’s truck is a total loss,” Thornhill added. “They [Logan Hollow Fish Farm] are waiting on their insurance company to figure out exactly what happened.”