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First responders rescue six from rising, swift waters

Six Washington County are pulled from the Little Muskingum River on Sunday
The Little Muskingum River
The Little Muskingum River(WTAP)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 1:01 AM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) -The Reno Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call of several people stuck in the Little Muskingum River around 2:10 p.m. Sunday, near the 3500 block of County Road 9 in Washington County.

Eight people had gone into the river. Two of the individuals were able to get out on their own, according to Reno Fire Chief Dan Ritchey. It’s unclear how the group ended up in the water, but Ritchey says they had been kayaking on the river when it was unsafe to do so. Six people were still in the water when the department arrived on scene, three of them were children.

Ritchey says the six were holding onto downed trees and limbs in the water. Using rope, first responders secured the six remaining kayakers in the water and passed them life vests.

O’Brien’s Safety Services was called for assistance. They were already with the Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department on a separate call. The two responded together, and the Little Hocking VFD brought their swift water rescue boat.

Ritchey says there was some trouble getting the boat into the water at first, so they called developer Mark Mondo to get a crane ready just in case first responders would have to use repelling equipment to access the kayakers.

That didn’t have to happen, as the swift water response boat was eventually put into the water and the six kayakers were rescued. No one was seriously injured.

“No, there wasn’t anybody hurt. One of the ladies had some bruising on her arm, and one of the little girls was really shook up,” said Ritchey.

All six of the rescued were able to return home after being pulled from the water.

Ritchey says the water rose nearly18 inches while the rescue was underway.

Two Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies also assisted in the rescue. One of the deputies, Ritchey says, was in the water with other first responders.

The Reno VFD cleared the scene around 5 p.m.

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