James River crests at over 9 feet making for unsafe conditions
This weekend, Goochland Fire Rescue saved five people and a dog from the water in two separate incidents where people were swept away. Richmond Fire Department’s Water Rescue team also saw several water rescues over the Memorial Day weekend, most at Belle Isle.
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Goochland Fire Rescue saved five people and a dog in two separate incidents over the weekend. Richmond Fire Department’s Water Rescue team also saw several water rescues over the Memorial Day weekend, most at Belle Isle.
The National Weather Service reported the James River crested slightly above 9 feet on Memorial Day, making for dangerous conditions for those out on the water.
The water levels were so high that Waterfront RVA, a business that rents kayaks and paddleboards for people to use out on the river, had to launch people out into the river from a different location.
“We move our operation outside of the city where the water is flat...we move away from these rapids down under the Teapot bridge,” said Benjamin Moore, Owner of Waterfront RVA.
Waterfront RVA said the high water levels are because of too much rain. They expect levels to drop by Thursday.
“The rapids that run through Richmond become too dangerous to send people out who haven’t ever paddled before,” Moore said.
Officials say that when the James is 9 feet or higher, only professionals such as water rescue teams or those with white water rafting experience should be out on the river. When the water levels hit five feet or above, rescue crews say people should wear life vests for any water activities.
“Below 5 feet, we recommend that you take that you use lifejackets, especially on children,” said Mark Irwin of the Richmond Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team.
Should you fall in the water, remember the phrase “nose up, toes up.” Lay on your back and keep your hands and feet above the water to avoid getting stuck.
“What that does is cause foot entrapments which when your foot gets caught the pressure of the river will push you down, and it is extremely hard to get out of that,” Irwin said.
Richmond Fire’s Water Rescue team says that people should never do anything on the water alone. If something does happen, you have a better chance of being rescued if someone in your group can call for help.
Emergency call boxes to contact police are at Pony Pasture and Belle Isle.
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