Swiftwater rescue team trains for river emergencies - DatelineCarolina

Swiftwater rescue team trains for river emergencies

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Officer Brick Lewis urges people to use the buddy system at the river Officer Brick Lewis urges people to use the buddy system at the river
Senior Kelly Laynor had a bad experience while floating the river Senior Kelly Laynor had a bad experience while floating the river

By Corry Carr 

Many people enjoy the outdoors at the River Walk in West Columbia. Others take advantage of beautiful days by floating on the Congaree River.  Floating the river may present some hidden risks.

University of South Carolina student Kelly Laynor said her last experience on the river was borderline traumatic.

"I was stranded in the middle of these rapids with no tube and no shoes, no nothing. So I literally had to walk trough rapids barefoot and it was absolutely terrifying," Kelly said.

Kelly isn't the only one who has had a dangerous experience on the river. A boat capsized in the river last week. Columbia's Swiftwater rescue team had to rescue everyone on the boat.

"Two made it to shore without injury. The other two were stranded in the middle of the Congaree. A distress call went out- 911 dispatched the Columbia Fire Department units, which includes our Swiftwater rescue team," said Columbia Police Department spokesman Brick Lewis.

The Swiftwater rescue team trains at the river once a year for incidents just like these. Lewis urges that people use the buddy system on the river, always let someone know where you are going and make sure to wear a life jacket even if you know how to swim.

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