DCFR saves family from capsized boat

Published 9:16 am Monday, September 13, 2021

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This past Monday, Decatur County Fire and Rescue responded to an overturned boat on Spring Creek, south of the Brinson Bridge Landing. Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Earp assisted in the rescue, and spoke to the Post Searchlight about the operation. “Essentially, what happened was, these boaters were out during Labor Day, and wound up getting into an area on their boat that caused their boat to capsize,” he said. “They got to some faster moving current, and he tried to maneuver away from it.” Unfortunately, the family was ultimately thrown from the boat when it capsized, and found themselves stuck on a narrow portion of riverbank, with dense vegetation blocking them behind, and the fast current in front of them.

“They lost their phones, they lost everything,” Earp said. The father left to seek help. “He was able to make it to a house close to the accident. He called 911, who told him to sit still, we were coming to get them.”

Fire and Rescue launched from the Spring Creek Landing, and were able to retrieve the others, reuniting them with the father at the landing. Some had minor injuries, but were fine overall.

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Earp warned boaters of the dangers of complacency when on the water, saying, “Complacency takes place, you get out there, you’re enjoying the water, you’re enjoying the fishing, you’re enjoying your time out there… and what happens is, we stop paying attention. That may not have been what happened to those people, but it’s certainly what happened a majority of times we’ve gone out for rescues.”

Another important point Earp wanted to remind people of, should they find themselves in need of rescue, was to stay put.

“Another thing that made that rescue successful was when we went to the location that we were described, they were there. They didn’t try to find land, they didn’t separate, the mother did a phenomenal job of keeping everyone calm and collected and right there in that spot until we could get there… for us to be successful in these operations, it’s important for people to stay where they are, and know that we’re coming to get you, we’re doing what we can.”