A local fire department is cautioning kayakers and canoers to stay off the local streams and rivers until water levels drop to a safer level.
According to their Facebook page, Pleasant Township Fire Department in Grove City responded to three different water rescue runs on Saturday, May 19. Two of them were in Pleasant Township and one was in Pickaway County.
One of these incidents happened just after 11 pm off of London-Groveport Road in the Grove City area.
Two kayakers attempted to navigate the Darby Creek at night. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office reports that the kayakers called 911 for help after realizing that the water was rapidly rising. By the time first responders were on the scene, the pair were overcome by the speed of the water and had lost their kayaks.
Both kayakers were successfully rescued with no injuries reported, however, the rescue required the resources of three fire department as well as the Franklin County Sheriff’s office, including a helicopter. The operation was two and a half hours and did not end until 2am on Sunday.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Jackson Township Fire Department, Columbus Fire Department and Pleasant Township Fire Department all responded.
Pleasant Township reports that two of their firefighters had to use their training and experience to prevent becoming victims themselves after their boat became disabled after striking a large rock.
The Pleasant Township Fire Department posted details of this rescue on their Facebook page, with an admonition to those who are considering kayaking in local streams and rivers. The following is an excerpt:
“With all of the rain we have received over the past several days, all of the streams and rivers are at or above flood stage and are moving dangerously fast. There is no reason to put your life in danger or jeopardize the lives of our brave men and women. Simply put stay off the water. Most local
Kayakers are not experienced enough to handle the fast moving water and quickly become overwhelmed. Please wait until the water levels drop to a safer level, then go enjoy all of the beauty that the Darby has to offer.”