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Fishermen Rescued From Above Sandstone Falls

New River Gorge National River

National Park News

On Friday, June 22nd, two men were wade fishing in New River Gorge National River just above Sandstone Falls when they lost their footing and were swept towards the falls. Sandstone Falls, a 25-foot-high waterfall with powerful undercurrents and massive boulders, stretches across the New River near Hinton, West Virginia. Several drownings have occurred at the falls over the years. The two men, one 20 and the other 40, were both experienced fishermen and were wearing personal flotation devices. They were able to grab onto a rock in the middle of the stream 15 feet upriver from the falls. Bystanders noticed the fishermen’s plight and called 911 at about 8:30 p.m. Rangers and Summers County volunteer firemen from Station 13 were dispatched to the scene. Station 13 swiftwater rescue personnel had participated in training with NPS rangers last year, and the teams integrated for the rescue. A safety boat manned by three Station 13 personnel was positioned below the falls for rescue during the extrication operation. As darkness began to settle across the river valley, a team of rangers and volunteer firemen rigged a safety rope and haul system for the extrication team. A three man extrication team made up of firefighters and led by ranger Bill Parker waded across the river and effected the rescue of the stranded fishermen. There were no injuries, and the operation was complete by 11 p.m.



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