• 66°

First responders save three stranded kayakers on Yadkin River

SPENCER — First responders rescued three people from the surging waters of the Yadkin River on Saturday afternoon after their kayaks overturned and left them struggling against exceptionally high water near the I-85 bridge.

The three kayakers were pulled from the river around 4:30 p.m. by water crews dispatched by Millers Ferry and Salisbury Fire Departments. From there, the three people were taken in an ambulance to the Novant Health Rowan Medical Center with what appeared to be minor injuries.

Millers Ferry Fire Department Chief Josh Fox said crews responded to a water rescue call around 3:40 p.m. There were reports that several kayaks without passengers had washed up near the I-85 bridge and Norfolk Southern railroad trestle. Other Rowan County agencies and Davidson County units were also deployed to the scene.

The Millers Ferry and Salisbury Fire Departments deployed two Zodiac rescue boats equipped with five water rescue technicians from an access point near Duke Energy’s Buck Combined Cycle Station. The boats proceeded upstream to search for missing kayakers.

“We made the decision to put in downstream so that we could make our way up to intercept them,” Fox said.

The Yadkin River’s waters were still high due to the influx of rain brought on by the remains of Tropical Storm Eta last week. The extra water created additional challenges reaching the stranded kayakers.

“The water was moving extremely fast. The water levels were still up,” Fox said. “Although the rain has stopped, we’re receiving all that runoff from the mountains and you can tell there’s an increase. We’re also getting the debris. That poses more dangers to our personnel because they have to weave in and out to make sure they don’t hit anything that could cause damage to the boat and stop them from getting to the victims.”

As the boats approached the bridge, they quickly identified three people who needed to be rescued. One kayaker was hanging onto a tree above the water, another was clinging to a tree in the water and a third was huddled against a pile of debris that was floating down the river. There were five kayakers in total, but the other two were able to escape the river on their own and watched as their companions were saved from the water.

Salisbury Fire Department personnel rescued one of the victims while Millers Ferry firefighters saved the other two. It took the rescue crews about 25 minutes from the time the boats were deployed to bring the kayakers to shore.

“Overall, I thought it went well,” Fox said. “I’m very happy with the outcome. Everybody gets to go home tonight to their families.”

Comments

Local

Salisbury woman wins $200,000 from scratch-off ticket

Local

Commissioners approve incentive agreement for ‘I-85 Commerce Center’ on Webb Road

Education

State Employees Credit Union commits $1.5 million to new Partners in Learning center

Local

Salisbury council to discuss grant for thermal cameras, reconsider rezoning for future Goodwill store

Elections

Early voting for 2021 municipal elections begin Oct. 14

Nation/World

COVID has killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu

Nation/World

US officials defend expulsion of Haitians from Texas town

Nation/World

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 fatalities bring September death toll to 27

Business

New ambulance company moves into Rowan County, filling need as COVID hospitalizations remain high

Crime

Blotter: Woman’s car shot several times on Pinehurst Street in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Nation/World

Search for Gabby Petito boyfriend continues after body found

Ask Us

Ask Us: What companies does RSS use for instructional materials, textbooks?

Nation/World

US launches mass expulsion of Haitian migrants from Texas

Business

In lieu of annual festival, New Sarum turns Cheerwine beer release into celebration

Education

RSS says federal money won’t be long-term solution for staff pay

China Grove

Main Street Marketplace combines local ingredients, community with farm-to-table dinner

Business

Business roundup: New managing director takes helm at Piedmont Players Theatre

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases continue decline as week brings 12 new deaths

News

Letter: Privileged to work where artists are valued

Brincefield Cartoons

Mook’s Place: COVID-19

Lifestyle

Library notes: New podcast coming in October

Lifestyle

In ‘This is Salisbury,’ Manier paints people who make city a better place to live