Rescue “Attempt”

Paul Grondin | Nanatahala River, N. Carolina

Well, we had just completed a river rescue class at the NOC outdoor center the day before and were half way threw our run in C1 playboats when we came upon a young lady stranded on a Strainer hanging halfway across the river. We eddied out and walked back to where she could be heard and asked if she wanted help. She was crying and begging us to get her off the Tree. We advised her to just jump in and we would pull her out down river but she just cried and said she couldn’t do that. So we talked it over (3 of us). Then I decided to try to rescue (just had a class) her by getting her to climb into my playboat. So I went up river and back down to her and while bumping bow first into the tree in the current I it soon became evident that this plan was a bad one. So I tried again to get her to just jump in but she just cried and shook her head NO. Then it all went bad. My canoe turned sideways and began to bounce hard into the tree until the up river edge caught the water and I flipped and went under the tree still strapped in the boat. Upside down with branches pressing into my back I went into panic adrenaline mode and blasted myself lose and somehow was pushed under the tree and popped up about ten yrd’s pass the girl into the branches spitting and coughing water out. My buddies yelled, are you all right capn and I nodded yes. Then one of them said, what happened to your glasses. That’s right, brand new prescription sun glasses (300) bucks were gone. I then mumbled a few dirty words while watching my boat come under me and pop up past the tree and get hung up by the bow rope. The fast current blasting into the cockpit right where my (300) dollar water proof camera was tied in. The water pressure broke the seals and the camera was ruined. So I pulled out my trusty river knife and cut the boat lose and my buddies grabbed it as it floated by. Next I climbed up to the young lady and tried to comfort her while getting my friends to throw us a throw rope. Then one of them came across the span holding onto the rope and we coxed the girl down into the water between us while we interlocked our arms with hers and started to work our way back across the river. Then right in the middle she froze up and would not move so I looked behind her at my pal and said on three let her go. One, Two, Three and we let go of her and she fell into the river and floated down into the other buddy and he pulled her out. So simple. Then her raft friends showed up and she left and never said Thanks, Kiss my a– or anything. So there we were standing on the Island with my rope (New) hooked to the tree, so we cut it lose (50 bucks) Now the fact that this little rescue (attempt) cost me 650.00 dollars some scraped up knees and one arm. Worst of all I could not see and had to wear regular glasses (old prescription) the rest of the week.
The rescue class was great but we should have went over what to do when pretty girl trapped on big strainer..It was a tough and expensive lesson.
the cap’n

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