Four people rescued from James at Belle Isle

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Four people were rescued from the rocks at Belle Isle in downtown Richmond.

One by one, the group of young adults who went about 50 feet from the shoreline onto the rocks to do some homework ended up getting hauled back onto shore.

"When they got there they were able to get on the rock and do their homework but they noticed when it was time for them to come back the water level went up tremendously," said Lt. Shawn Jones of Richmond Fire and Rescue.

Rescuers were in a fight against time. The sun was setting as the last person was pulled to safety. Two guys and two girls, rescuers say these four made the right call, by not trying to get back to shore on their own.

It's exactly the kind of situation the crew hopes to avoid this weekend. Jones said the river could reach 11 feet Friday night.

"We saw the water level get very high in a short amount of time so for these individuals going to the river, be vigilant of the fact that the water level will rise," said Jones.

There's no law that prohibits people from getting in the James River. But once the water levels hit 9 feet high, the law requires a permit to canoe, swim, or even climb on the rocks.

There's a number you can call to check the water levels at the James River. That number is 646-8228 option 4. You can also check James River levels at the Richmond Westham Gauge online.

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