Local First Responders handle swift water rescues

By Caroline Sweeney
KSNT – May 28, 2015


First responders have made two daring river rescues in the past two weeks in Pottawatomie County – both after boaters became stranded.

They want Kansans to have a good time while canoeing, kayaking and boating – but they also want them to be safe.

While the Kansas River is quiet now, it wasn’t that when two people were trapped in a canoe near Belvue.

The small boat was caught in the stormy weather.

“The water was so swift they couldn’t stop” says Belvue resident Leroy Brunkow.

The Manhattan Fire department pulled them to safety, their second rescue in 11 days. The fear is it won’t be the last.

:With water,” says MFD fire fighter Drew Taylor “It’s a very powerful force. Don’t think you can out-muscle your way through water or out-swim it.”

Using this boat, rescuers found the Canoeists about a half-mile from the nearest boat ramp.

With the addition of several new boat ramps leading into the Kansas River, some Belvue residents wonder if they’ll see an increase in water rescues over the next few years.

“On the weekends,” says Brunkow “there’s usually three or four different canoers or boats down on the river where you never saw it before.”

First responders recommend boaters keep a cell phone in a water-proof bag when they’re out on the water, and do something that should be routine.

“Look at the weather ahead” Taylor tells us. “Both times we’ve been called out in the last week for swift water rescues we’ve had thunderstorms in the area – it’s been actively raining.”

Firefighters tell us there were no injuries in either of the rescues in the past two weeks.

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