News Flash


Posted on: April 23, 2017

Nine Rescued from Rappahannock

For Additional Information: Chief Mark Lockhart

Stafford, VA – April 23, 2017 – Eight students and one tour guide were rescued from the Rappahannock River Saturday evening in a nearly four-hour operation by Stafford County Fire and Rescue firefighters and paramedics assisted by Spotsylvania County and the City of Fredericksburg. Students from the University of Mary Washington were on a guided tour of the river Saturday afternoon when they became separated from the guide after his canoe overturned. The Stafford County Emergency Communications Center received a call from one of the students at 5:11 p.m. indicating that some of the students were still on the water while others had made it to shore near the confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers.

“Crews from our department as well as the City of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania had a difficult time pinpointing the locations of the students initially.” Stafford County Fire and Rescue Chief Mark Lockhart reported. Utilizing four-wheel drive vehicles and all-terrain vehicles, crews covered approximately two miles of ground off of Richards Ferry Road to gain access to the last known location of the students. Crews were staged down-river as look-outs for the students still on the water and to act as a safety for crews operating up-river. All nine subjects were located within an hour and forty minutes of the initial 911 call. Crews worked for an additional hour and a half to get the students off the water safely. All nine were checked by paramedics and refused any further care. The students and their guide were transported back to the University of Mary Washington. “This was a tremendous effort by everyone involved including the students who were able to answer questions to help us locate them. It certainly could have had a different outcome. “Training and coordination makes the difference in these operations – we saw that today. It was a great example of coordination between three fire and rescue agencies resulting in a successful rescue.” Said Chief Lockhart.

Crews from the Hartwood, Berea, Mountain View, Falmouth, Brooke, Rockhill and Garrisonville were assisted by crews from the City of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County.

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