Two Hannibal, Missouri, cousins responded to a deadly boat accident on the Mississippi River near Hull, Illinois, on Aug. 3, 2019. Robert J. Whitley, a 38-year-old construction worker, and James W. Whitley II, a 36-year-old laborer, were in James’ 20-foot jon boat when they saw a pontoon boat carrying seven people — including 2-year-old Mea A.K. Lewis, who was not wearing a life jacket; 22-year-old Brittany L. Caldwell; 49-year-old Harland L. Miller; and 42-year-old Barbara Ann Young — swept into the slanted bow of a moored barge, where it capsized. The pontoon boat occupants fell or dived into the water, and the Whitley cousins responded to the scene. As they neared the scene, a strong current nearly capsized the jon boat twice by pushing it into the front of the barge as the cousins stood in the bow trying to bring Mea into the boat. As a result, James moved to the engine and backed the jon boat away from the danger in front of the barge. James then circled the jon boat around while Whitley stood at the bow and pulled Mea into the boat on a subsequent pass. Because the jon boat was at risk of colliding with and being forced beneath the barge, James kept the motor on full reverse to maintain a safe position before circling away several times as Whitley helped Caldwell into the boat, and then on a subsequent pass, Miller. At some point during the rescue, Young submerged and did not resurface. The Whitleys then navigated away from the immediate danger, where they pulled two other pontoon passengers floating farther away from the barge into the jon boat, and then transported the pontoon boat passengers to shore where they were met by first responders. One of the last two people Whitley pulled into the boat had drowned. Another man was rescued by the crew of a tugboat. Young’s body was recovered the following day from beneath the barge. Robert Whitley subsequently moved to New London, Missouri.