<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Sunday,  June 16 , 2024

Linkedin Pinterest
News / Clark County News

Trio of weekend water rescues throughout Clark County a reminder of cold-water dangers

Recent rains make for fast-moving currents and chilly temperatures

By Shari Phiel, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 10, 2024, 6:18pm
3 Photos
Contributed by Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue
Rescuers bring a stranded swimmer to shore of the East Fork Lewis River on Sunday. It was the second water rescue of the weekend for Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue.
Contributed by Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue Rescuers bring a stranded swimmer to shore of the East Fork Lewis River on Sunday. It was the second water rescue of the weekend for Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue. Photo Gallery

A trio of weekend water rescues should serve as a reminder of the dangers local rivers and lakes pose this time of year.

The first incident occurred about 2:30 p.m. Saturday when crews from East County Fire and Rescue and the Camas-Washougal Fire Department called for a technical rescue team for a man stranded on a rock in the Washougal River.

Limited access to the river and fast-moving water made rescuing the man difficult. Crews from Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue, Vancouver Fire Department and Clark County Fire District 6 responded. The technical rescue team brought the man safely back to shore, according to a Facebook post by Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue.

Also Saturday, the Vancouver Fire Department responded to Vancouver Lake after a 911 caller reported a boater in distress around 4:20 p.m. Rescue crews found a kayak sinking in the middle of the lake. The kayaker was wearing a personal flotation device and was with another boater, according to a news release Saturday.

The pair of boaters used their cellphone to call for help and coordinate the rescue. Crews from Vancouver Fire and the Clark County Regional Technical Rescue team used a boat from the Vancouver Lake Sailing Club to rescue both people.

Once on shore, the kayaker refused medical care. According to the news release, the man likely would not have survived the incident without a life jacket.

The third rescue came about 6 p.m. Sunday when Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue was called to a potential drowning at Lewisville Regional Park. When crews arrived, they found one person clinging to a rock in the middle of the East Fork Lewis River.

According to a Facebook post Sunday, rescuers, were able to get the man to shore and then to the hospital, the department said.

“As the temperatures warm up, everybody comes out and wants to get in the water. But that water is coming from snowmelt,” Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Mike Jackson said Monday.

Local rivers are also being fed by recent rains, which makes for fast-moving currents and chilly temperatures, Jackson said. Most rivers average around 55 to 60 degrees.

Jackson cautioned the cold water can quickly make swimmers feel weaker than normal. According to the National Weather Service, immersion in cold water can lead to cold-water shock within the first minute, loss of muscle control within 10 minutes or hypothermia within 20 to 30 minutes.

“When your body hits cold water, ‘cold shock’ can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure,” the agency’s website states.

If you’re heading out on the water, take precautions.

“We always recommend wearing a personal flotation device, and never go in the water alone, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area,” Jackson said.

Loading...