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Swift Water Rescue – Sunday, May 19th, 2014


Conditions in parts of the Huron River are very hazardous this spring, where the force of the swift flowing water leaves little room for error for kayak and canoeing enthusiasts.

Swift Water RescueIn a coordinated response with Dexter Area Fire and Huron Valley Ambulance, Corporal Tom Mercure and Deputy Marcus Kirby, members of the Sheriff’s Dive Team, performed a swift water rescue on the Huron River Sunday evening, May 19th, at about 6:50 p.m.  They responded when a three (3) person Kayak holding two (2) young men and a young woman capsized and became caught under the branches of a large fallen tree in the center of the river just south of the old Bell road bridge in Dexter Township.  One of the young men and the young woman were able to make it to shore.  The remaining young man was able to extricate himself from the kayak, but was unable to make it to the shore through the swift and powerful current.  Hearing cries for assistance, a local resident called 911 and initiated the response.


Deputy John Scafasci arrived first and helped coordinate other emergency responders through Sheriff’s Metro-Dispatch.  Trained in swift water rescue, Mercure and Kirby arrived and launched a versatile inflatable watercraft with a powerful engine upstream of the site.  They maneuvered downstream to the stranded individual, who was standing but hanging on to a branch to avoid being swept into the current.  Mercure was able to get close enough to allow Kirby to bring the young man into the watercraft.


Sgt. Paul Cook, Dive Team Leader, Corporal Rob Pasternak, Assistant Dive Team Leader, and Sgt. Tom Pennington were also on scene providing direction and support to Mercure and Kirby.  Undersheriff Ptaszek responded to the scene and commented afterwards.  “Given the conditions of the Huron River at different times of the year, Dive Team members are trained in swift water rescue for just this type of scenario.  Corporal Mercure and Deputy Kirby moved quickly and calmly, working well with their colleagues in-the-field and Metro-Dispatch to respond with the proper resources and affect the rescue.  We work very closely with Dexter Area Fire and Huron Valley Ambulance, all of the time; and this was a well-coordinated, very professional, multi-agency response.”   


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