Water Rescue

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Here is some more information on the Water Rescue performed by Roanoke Fire-EMS.

Official release from the Fire-EMS Department:

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department responded to a Swift Water Rescue on June 27, 2006 at the Roanoke River near Wiley Dr.

The call was received through the 9-1-1 Center at approximately 7:54 p.m. from Battalion One. Battalion One pulled up on the scene of two individuals placing a canoe into the swollen Roanoke River at Wiley Dr. He immediately notified the 9-1-1 Center for police assistance and he activated the Swift Water Rescue Team. Other crews arrived consisting of one engine, two ladder trucks, the Swift Water Rescue Team, two medic units, one EMS Captain and one Battalion Chief for a total of 19 personnel.

Soon after the canoe was placed into the water, it capsized, sending both men into the water. Fire-EMS crews immediately began the rescue mission. One individual was able to pull himself out of the water at Smith Park. The other man continued floating down the river. The Swift Water Rescue Team tossed him a throw bag which is used in conducting water rescues. The man held onto it for a moment, but then lost his grip. The Swift Water Rescue Team then tried another strategy by going into the river to save the man. They were successful and pulled him to safety below the Franklin Rd. bridge.

Both men were treated at the scene and released without any injuries. There were no injuries to other civilians or Fire-EMS Crews.

Roanoke Fire-EMS reminds citizens to never enter flooded areas. Debris and swift water make for a dangerous situation which can put you at risk for drowning. Also, never attempt to cross flooded roadways.

The Roanoke Fire-EMS Swift Water Rescue Team was developed in September of 2004. This team is based out of Fire-EMS Station #6 on Jamison Avenue and falls under the Special Operations Division with Heavy and Tactical Rescue. Twenty-three fire-EMS personnel completed the required Technician Level Swift Water Rescue training and Boat Operations.

WDBJ7 has the story including a video of the men capsizing. Check out what the men had to say after being rescued:

One of the men was able to get ashore on his own, but the rescuers pulled the other to safety. After coming ashore, Henegar said the rescue effort was not necessary: “I was swimming toward the trees the whole time, I was resting at the trees, and then I got tired.”

But hey, what do the professionals know, these guys do it all the time. “It” being canoe in flood swollen rivers with rapids they are not accustomed to and capsize making them have to fight for their lives to get to shore. Piece of cake.

I wonder if that man would have said the same thing if the other had drowned?

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