The Lusk Herald
June 12, 1952
Earl Stroup, 17-Year-Old Oil Field Worker, Drowns Monday While Taking Swim in Dike; Long Search for Body
A pre-shift swim, undertaken by Earl Stroup, 17, and LeRoy Burback, 18, in the dike about half a mile southeast of the oil rig on which they were employed, and about 25 miles north of this city, ended in death by drowning for Stroup, shortly after 2:00 o'clock Monday afternoon, and according to his companion almost claimed his life.
The two youths, who resided in Lusk, had left town early for their shift on the Crusader corporation's Niobrara No. 2 well and arriving more than an hour early, decided to take a swim. They drove to the west bank of the large dike and entered the water, heading for the east shore, a distance estimated between 90 and 100 yards.
Burback was considerably ahead of his companion when he heard him call for help, but turned and swam back to him. Stroup grabbed Burback in his struggle and was pulling him under when the latter managed to free himself. He tried to calm Stroup, meanwhile heading for the shore about 50 feet away, where he obtained a long pole and started out again for the youth in distress.
Stroup, according to Burback grabbed frantically at the end of the pole, which broke (in two) due to a rotted section. He went down and was not again seen to come to the surface.
Burback then swam back to the east bank and rushed to the oil rig where he told other crewmen, headed by Les Roberts, driller for the Dunbar Drilling Co., what had happened, and immediately a call was sent to Lusk for the resuscitator and other assistance, while crew members from the Niobrara No. 2 and the Niobrara No. 1 wells, hastened to the scene. It was readily apparent that young Stroup had drowned, and efforts to recover his body were begun.
A Continental Oil company boat was sent over from Lance Creek, and a call to this city later brought two others. Volunteers with grappling hooks and expert swimmers were soon probing the area in which Stroup had gone down. The search started less than an hour after the drowning, with the east bank soon lined with members of the Lusk Volunteer Fire Department and numerous other men ready to take their turn in the boats or assist wherever they could. Darkness fell and still the search remained fruitless and it was then that one of the Lance Creek volunteers offered to have more suitable grappling equipment. This was ready and on the scene around 10:00 p.m. and the boats were called in to try the new materials. At 10:55 the body was located in water about 10 feet deep and brought to the surface and back to the shore. The boy's distraught parents and a sister were at the scene, having been sent for shortly after the drowning.
At the height of the fruitless period of the search, it was decided to cut at that point, some distance south of the spillway down, and workmen at the drowning area were, along with County Coroner George Earl Peet and Dr. W. E. Reckling, ready to start cutting thru the spillway when a signal told them the body of the youth had been recovered.
According to Burback, Stroup had become fatigued when he reached the point where he went down, and became excited as is so often the case among swimmers in distress. It has been said that neither of the lads were expert swimmers.
In the Continental Oil company boat making the recovery were Dean Long, operating the motor, and Lee Siemsen, Lusk cafe operator, who found the body, and Kent McDaniel. Other boats assisting with the search were supplied by Lafe Culver and Joe Leimser, and Bryan Burge.
The victim's remains were brought to Lusk by George Earl Peet of the Peet mortuary and prepared for shipment overland to Bayard, leaving here Tuesday.
Last services for the youth were held at 2:00 o'clock this (Thursday) afternoon at Bayard, with interment taking place in the cemetery of that city. Activity at the well where young Stroup had worked and had been highly regarded by his fellow crew members, was suspended during the period of the last rites.
Guy Earl Stroup was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Stroup of Bayard, Nebr., born June 30, 1934 at Haxtun, Colo. He had been here for the past month, working as a crewman on the Crusader corporation oil well being drilled by the Dunbar Drilling company. His father is a farmer residing near Bayard.
Other survivors besides his parents are two sisters, Mrs. Clarence Knowles of Lusk, Wyo., and Mrs. Walter Banaka of Holyoke, Colo.
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