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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Kayaker rescued from Smith River

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A specialized rescue crew from Rockingham County, N.C., helped rescue a kayaker in Henry County on Sunday, according to Kiah Cooper, assistant fire marshal.

The incident occurred while three men were kayaking down the Smith River, near Eggleston Falls in Ridgeway, he said.

The trio encountered trouble with the water rising “pretty high from all the rainfall and I know the dams are generating right now to try to get rid of some of the (rain) water that we’ve had,” Cooper said.

Two of the men made it to shore, but a third man was stuck on a rock about 100 to 150 feet from the shore, said Cooper, who also is a member of the Ridgeway Rescue Squad.

Squad members were not able to safely reach the third man, and they contacted both the Bassett Rescue Squad and a swift water rescue team from Eden, N.C., said Cooper, who added he was not sure of the kayakers’ names.

The Axton Lifesaving Crew furnished four-wheelers needed to get to the rescue site, Cooper said. He estimated that was about a mile away from a staging area at Old Mill and Eggleston Falls roads.

The four-wheelers were used to haul equipment and personnel out to the swift water rescue team, he said. The team deployed all its equipment and put one swimmer in water and attached to a safety line, Cooper added.

Bassett Rescue deployed a safety device in case a rescuer went into the water, and the Eden team inflated a raft and put it in the water to rescue the man, Cooper said.

There were no injuries, he said. The call was received about 2 p.m. Sunday, and the last unit cleared the scene around 7 p.m., he added.

“Everything went really smooth. We worked really well with the crew from Eden. I’m glad we had someone with that experience,” Cooper said.

The Virginia State Police helped with traffic control. Henry County Public Safety and the Axton Volunteer Fire Department stood by at the scene, he said.


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