Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Firefighters from the Irmo Fire District responded to a report that a canoe had overturned in the Lower Saluda River Sunday afternoon below Saluda Shoals Park. According to Battalion Chief Randy Arrant of the Irmo Fire District, three people were in the ice cold water of the river that flows out of the bottom of Lake Murray. They responded with specially trained firefighters and a swift water boat to perform the rescue in the fast moving river. The Irmo firefighters were dispatched to Woodwinds Drive on the north side of the river. Enroute, they requested the assistance of the Lexington County Swift Water Team which also responded with their boat and equipment to the south side of the river. After the Irmo personnel got eyes on the canoeists, they made sure that the Lexington County personnel were headed to the Saluda River Club launch as it appeared that the three would end up on the south bank.
When Irmo firefighters arrived at Saluda Shoals Park, they launched their boat. IFD’s battalion chief set up a command post at Saluda Shoals East just behind Irmo Fire District’s headquarters to direct the operation. He received reports that a good Samaritan in a kayak had paddled down from Saluda Shoals Park and was assisting the three people that were in the water. That kayaker was able to help them to the Lexington side where they struggled up on the bank a short distance below the launch at the Saluda River Club. Battalion Chief Arant from the Irmo Fire District said that luckily the three were just a short distance down river from the launch where the Lexington County firefighters were able to quickly access them and bring them to safety. Lexington County never even had to launch their boat.
A Lexington County EMS unit responded and checked the three who had been in the water. We have asked if any were transported for medical care and are waiting on a response on the canoeists’ condition from the county.
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