Rescue has to wait until daylight

By Anthony Antoine |

Published 02/24 2014 12:49PM

Updated 02/24 2014 01:06PM

Update: 10:03 pm, 2/23/14, Sunday
ASHMORE -- It took a team effort from several fire departments to rescue people from the Embarras River. Crews from Charleston, Ashmore and Lincoln responded to 11455 Arrowhead Road. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine finds out what happened next.

Sixteen people from out-of-town canoed their way to this house for a party.

"About 2:30 in the morning, they all decided to leave."

But, that same canoe wasn't enough to get them back across the Embarras River.

"Swift waters came up faster than they anticipated."

A barrier of ice froze upstream, then broke, sending backed up water and pieces of ice toward the house.

"The area behind me here is all grass and pasture, but Saturday morning, this was all flooded swift water."

"As big as the ice chunks were, if they broke loose and came towards the house, it could have taken that house completely out."

When crews arrived, currents were so strong, they couldn't make their way to the house. They were stranded for hours.

"We had 17 people total in the house and three stuck in a canoe."

"Those people were cold. Hypothermia was starting to set tin."

Firefighters say it wasn't safe to attempt the rescue at night, so they waited until morning.

"Everything was boat-operated. We have an Air Zodiac boat. We put a team in there with extra life jackets. We made four different trips and brought 16 folks from flooded waters back to dry ground."

But, it's a lesson they won't soon forget.

"Nobody understands and nobody realizes how quick the current can sweep somebody and it gets very dangerous, even if it just looks like flood waters."

No one was hurt and they all got home safely. The 17th person, decided to stay home.
Original: 10:00 pm, 2/22/14, Saturday
CHARLESTON -- As the snow melts, flooding is a concern everywhere. Crews had to rescue sixteen people trapped in flood waters.

It happened Saturday morning at a house on Arrowhead Road. A chunk of ice broke loose at the Embarras River and flooded a bridge. It flooded a home with 6 - 8 feet of water.

A group of people from out-of-town was inside visiting. Three tried to swim for help and got stuck on an island. That's when the group called for help. Crews made sure they were safe, then waited until daylight to make the rescue. No one was hurt.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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