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Sequoia: Rangers Rescue Man Who Fell Into Kaweah River

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avatar Sequoia: Rangers Rescue Man Who Fell Into Kaweah River
June 16, 2009 05:01PM
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Rangers Rescue Man Who Fell Into Kaweah River

On Saturday, May 30th, a volunteer river rover radioed dispatch to report that a 23–year-old man had fallen into the Kaweah River near the Hospital Rock picnic area, which is inside Sequoia’s southwestern boundary. The victim had been standing on a rock above the Kaweah River, which was running high and fast due to spring runoff, when he slipped and fell. The current swept him to an underwater rock, where he was able to stand in cold, waist-deep water. Rangers coordinated a successful, multi-divisional swift-water rescue. A lifejacket and helmet were passed to the man. Because of the river’s topography, rangers determined that rescue swimmers could neither safely nor effectively reach him. Rescuers set up downstream containment with a downstream rescue swimmer, and a tethered rescue board was deployed with safety lines. The man quickly placed himself on the board in the fast current and was pulled to shore, evading dangerous hydraulics and undercut rocks. He was treated for mild hypothermia and released. Throughout the rescue operation, the river rover successfully prevented the victim’s family and other onlookers from entering the river to attempt a rescue, thereby thwarting the potential for a secondary incident. Sequoia’s river rover volunteers contact visitors at key access points on the park’s rivers to advise them of the risks and dangers of swift water. They also serve as park ambassadors, distributing a wide range of park information to river users and other visitors. The river rover program at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has been instrumental in reducing the number of injuries and deaths through early notification and activation of emergency services.
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