Water rescue teams respond to emergency on the Rivanna

By Carlos Santos, Editor

Water rescue teams descended on the Rivanna River near Fork Union in the early morning hours of July 16 in response to an emergency alert sent out by a Garmin emergency beacon that fell in the river, automatically activating it. The beacon belonged to a group of 10 people on an overnight canoe/kayak trip on the Rivanna.

 A heavy rainstorm the night before had swollen the river and its fast-rising water threatened the group’s campsite, according to R. John Lye, chief of the Lake Monticello Water Rescue and Dive Team.

Lye said one of the groups members woke up at 4 a.m. and noticed the rising water and alerted the other campers. The group immediately began packing in preparation for heading downstream toward the Columbia boat landing about four miles away.

“As they were doing so, their Garmin emergency beacon was activated and sent out an emergency alert with GPS coordinates. The alert caused the dispatch center to activate the Lake Monticello Water Rescue and Dive Team,” according to Lye. The Fork Union Volunteer Fire Company was also activated since the incident was in its area of responsibility called the “First Due” area.  

Lye said in an email that since the “take out point” was going to be the Columbia boat landing, the dispatch center also activated the Goochland County Water Rescue Team, and the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team. The Palmyra Volunteer Fire Company was also requested to bring their Utility Terrain Vehicles  to Bryants Ford Road in case the boaters needed to be evacuated by land.

Lye said the Lake Monticello team put a boat in the water at the Columbia boat landing, and headed upstream to contact the party, while firefighters accessed the river from Bryants Ford Road, which was closer to the party’s campsite.  They made visual contact with the group, who were heading downstream in the floodwaters.  The Lake Monticello boat then also contacted the group and began to escort them downstream.  Goochland County put two boats in the water and met the group enroute back to the Columbia boat landing and helped escort them downriver.  Scottsville’s Boat 70 met the boaters at the mouth of the Rivanna, and the four boats helped make sure that the canoers and kayakers were able to safely cross the James River – which was also rising at this time – to the Columbia boat landing.

“Everyone was safely returned to the boat landing,” Lye said. The boaters were planning to take out at the landing, which is where the Rivanna joins the James.  “They just got there a bit sooner, and faster than they had intended,” he said.

Lye said the rescue effort, from the time of dispatch until everyone was safely back on land, took about 3 1/2 hours, and involved units from Lake Monticello, Fork Union Fire, Palmyra Fire, Scottsville Fire, Fluvanna Rescue and Goochland County Fire and Rescue, who also had two ambulances on standby along with a Fluvanna Rescue ambulance, in case there were incidents of hypothermia.

The response was fast, coordinated, and professional and involved about two dozen rescue personnel. “It was a good example of getting out there quickly, and good cooperation among all the agencies involved,” Lye said.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138