Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Matthew Tobben, 42, died Monday morning during a swift water rescue operation, according to Boone County Fire Chief Scott Olsen.

The rescue took place around 3:45 a.m. Monday in north Columbia, according to a facebook post, when Boone County was assisting the Columbia Fire Department. The 2008 Zodiac FCX 420 boat Assistant Chief Tobben was in capsized while underneath a bridge on Rangeline Street. Firefighters were attempting to save two people on Bear Creek. Tobben was thrown from the boat and drowned.

The boat's engine failed as it was returning to the shore, and the boat started drifting with the strong current then became "swamped with water." That's when Tobben and the other three occupants of the boat were ejected, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The incident occurred around 4:15 a.m.

Tobben, of Sturgeon, was pronounced deceased at 8:53 a.m., by Boone County Medical Examiner Stacey Huck.

The other three who were in the boat were safe, including 29-year-old Paige J. Pace of Columbia, 38-year-old Charlie Resonno of Columbia, and 36-year-old firefighter Derek K. Abbott of Fulton.

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It is with great sadness that I announce that Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Mathew Tobben died this morning during a swift water rescue operation. Assistant Chief Matt Tobben was assisting the Columbia Fire Department during a swift water rescue operation at Rangeline Street and Bear Creek early this morning. The firefighters had rescued two individuals when the zodiac boat overturned and Chief Tobben was thrown from the boat and drowned. The Columbia Firefighter and the two victims originally rescued were able to be rescued and are doing ok. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. --Scott Olsen, Fire Chief
Boone County Fire Protection District
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The Columbia Fire Department posted on facebook as well, saying:
The Columbia Fire Department will forever be grateful for Assistant Chief Tobben’s bravery and dedication to the community. We ask that you please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time.
Tobben leaves behind a wife and two children.

 

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