Here’s how to stay alive and not drown if you fall in rapid water
A man and woman were cold and shaky but otherwise in good condition after being stuck in the Tuolumne River since sometime Sunday afternoon, rescuers who pulled them out Tuesday morning reported.
The pair of kayakers launched from the Basso Bridge area west of La Grange about 4 p.m. Sunday and capsized not long afterward, Capt. Buck Condit of the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District said Tuesday.
They had informed at least one person of their launch, but no report was made when they didn’t check back in, Condit said. Their plight was discovered when a worker at a nursery that backs up to the river in the Roberts Ferry area heard their cries for help Tuesday morning.
The man and woman both were in a waist-deep channel of the river, hanging onto trees, Condit said. A map indicates it was perhaps seven miles downstream from where they put into the water.
“There was no way for them to reach either side safely,” Condit said. “They would have had to cross deeper channels.”
U.S. Geological Service data show that the Tuolumne in the La Grange area Tuesday was about 50 degrees and flowing at more than 5,100 cubic feet per second.
Stanislaus Consolidated responded to the 10:20 a.m. dispatch with two rescue boats, two helicopters, an engine, a truck and a battalion chief. The stranded pair were out of the water by 11:11, Condit said.
He could not provide the man and woman’s identities. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Clayton said he is 65 and she is 56 and they are from Coulterville.
Paramedics determined that the pair’s conditions were stable, and the man and woman refused transport for medical treatment, Condit said. A sheriff’s deputy drove them, presumably, to their vehicle.
As rescuers were finishing up, Condit said, another rescue call came in — this one for a dog.
A woman was walking the animal on a riverside path in the area of Western Avenue in Waterford, Condit said. There is a cliff along the river, and the dog slipped and fell about 25 feet.
It stayed on the river’s edge, but there was no easy way to rescue it from land, Condit said. “Since we were just coming off the water rescue, we had the boats available and put them back in.”
The dog is OK and back with its owner, who remained on scene and tried to help any way she could, he said.