07/06/13 583 W, 2 I - + 3 - 2 This Week's River Rescues

Four river rescues and counting this week on the swollen Tar Haw and Neuse rivers in Chatham and Wake counties, respectively. They're swollen with higher water levels and greater amounts of debris due to the strong storms and heavy rainfall of recent weeks. Here's what we've learned about each:

Friday afternoon, July 5 - Haw River at/near Highway 64
Overturned kayaker, who relocated to a rock among the rushing waters. He was rescued by three rescuers using an inflatable boat. Agencies on scene included Chatham County responders and the Apex FD. That's the crew of Apex Engine 1 in the photo below.

WRAL photo

Friday afternoon, July 5 - Neuse River behind 2819 Treasures Lane
Four people on an inner tube, being pulled by a fifth person in a kayak. The tube became trapped in trees and overturned just south of the Falls Lake dam. Five people needing rescue, three in the water and two in a tree over the water. Rescued by Wake Forest Engine 5 crew and Wake County EMS Medic 93 using throw ropes. Dispatch assignment was E22, E25 (as USAR 801), L5, Squad 15, R1, B5, B1, C20, and Wake Forest E5. Plus EMS _, D_, M93. Dispatched about 2:14 p.m.

WTVD photo

Friday morning, July 5 - Haw River near Highway 64
Boater who capsized his craft on Thursday night, about a half-mile downstream from Highway 64. Swift-water rescue attempted, but the swift water prevented rescuers from reaching the boater. North Chatham FD, Pittsboro FD, Apex FD, South Orange Rescue, and (later) Raleigh Fire Department among agencies on scene. Shortly before midnight, a North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (HART) requested. The State Highway Patrol helicopter and two Raleigh Fire Department helicopter rescue technicians arrived on scene at 2:35 a.m. They located the survivor on a small island in the middle of the river. After rigging their equipment, the rescue was started, but aborted due to diminished visibility due to fog. The helicopter and its team returned after daybreak, and the rescue was completed just before 7:30 a.m. (They do short-haul rescue operations. They lift a rescuer a short distance to the victim, then lift the rescuer plus victim a short distance to awaiting medical units.) See this short video by Matthew Mauzy.
Thursday afternoon, July 4 - Haw River at/near Highway 64
Two people on inner tube went over a dam and fell eight feet. Adult male swam to safety. Adult female reached an island of rocks, and was rescued. Three rescue crews (agencies?) participated.

Notes About Apex
The Apex Fire Department responded to the three Haw River incidents. They have a mutual aid agreement with North Chatham FD and South Orange Rescue Squad for water rescue calls in those areas. Believe they send a six person crew and two boats on such calls. Their roster of equipment includes two small rescue trucks (Rescue 1 and Rescue 2), along with three Zodiak inflatable boats, two flat-bottomed Rescue One boats, and two rafts. (Think that's right.) They're housed at Station 1 and Station 2. Fun fact, Rescue 2 is Durham Highway's old Unit 9, a 1987 Ford/E-One light-duty rescue. See some pictures from Lee Wilson on this page (scroll toward the bottom).


Do you mean July instead of June? easy typo
EMT, MD - 07/06/13 - 13:54

Mike, it was the Haw River and not the Tar. Apex responded to the Haw incidents, and the boat crew depicted in the raft is that of AFD E1’s crew who made a great grab!
Bob P. - 07/06/13 - 21:36

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