By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
Posted May 26, 2020
The Huron Township Department of Public safety was busy keeping the waterways in the community safe over Memorial Day weekend.
The department responded to multiple calls on May 24 and 25.
Every call involved people on or near waterways without life jackets on who had fallen in.
On May 24th at 9:06 a.m. Huron Township Emergency Dispatch Center received a call of a disoriented man on a local dock.
Reports state the male had fallen from his boat into the water and had been in the cold water for an extended period of time.
The man was transported by Huron Valley Ambulance to a local hospital. He was not wearing a personal flotation device.
A few hours later at 4:30 p.m. emergency dispatch received a call of two adults and one child in the river hanging onto logs.
Fire and police personnel responded and initiated a water rescue. Only the child was wearing a personal floatation device.
For the third time on the same day at 6:14 p.m., public safety responded to the Lower Huron Metropark’s south fishing area for three people in the river who lost their canoe.
The occupants were rescued from the river safely. Only one of the three people rescued were wearing personal flotation devices.
On May 25 at 12:23 p.m., dispatch received a call regarding four people who had fallen from their kayaks and were trapped in the Huron river near Huron River Drive and Kass Streets.
Huron Township Fire Personnel entered the river at the original location and rescued two people from the water.
One person was pinned beneath a log and was freed by fire personnel.
The two other people were rescued further down the river by police officers who entered the river to save them.
None of the four people rescued were wearing personal flotation devices.
“Our fire personnel climbed down the steep riverbank, got into the water quickly and without hesitation were able to free to young lady who had become trapped. Luckily experience and instinct took over and everyone was able to escape harm with only minor injuries,” said Everette Robbins, Huron Township director of public safety.
“Any one of these incidents could have had a much different outcome. It is interesting to note that out of the eleven people that were rescued this weekend, only two were wearing some type of personal flotation device. While the river may not look intimidating, water levels are up, and the current is flowing quickly. It is easy to lose control no matter how experienced you may be. It is important that if people choose to go out on the water, they must protect themselves. The need to be rescued could put a lot of people, including first responders, unnecessarily in harm’s way.”
Robbins said the dispatch center played a crucial role in helping locate the people who needed the help from emergency response.
“Dispatch received conflicting reports about the location of victims that had gone into the river. To make the situation even more complex, even after locating the first two victims, we had two more unaccounted for,” he said. “Dispatcher Amanda Iott did an incredible job working with on scene personnel, as well as multiple callers, to give first responders the location of the victims. Dispatch never gets the credit they truly deserve and when time was most critical, she really came through for everyone involved.”