West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – Several more people hopping from rock-to-rock in the Congaree River Wednesday afternoon were stranded and had to be rescued with a cooperative effort of three departments’ first responders. According to Deputy Chief Marquis Solomon of the West Columbia Fire Department, this is the second day in a row that they’ve coordinated an effort to rescue people from the waters of the Congaree with the other departments.
Chief Solomon said that several people were hopping between the rocks of the water when they became stranded in the river above the Jarvis Klapman Overpass. Firefighters were originally dispatched to Moffat Street but eventually some relocated closer to the people down the West Columbia Riverwalk. The swift water rescue team from the Lexington County Fire Service responded as did the Columbia Fire Department’s team from the east bank of the river. Chief Solomon said that their department first deployed a special rescue boat to recon the situation. They were then able to send rescue swimmers with the boat to rescue the trapped individuals. Neither was injured as a result of their ordeal.
Solomon said that the waters of the area’s rivers can be very dangerous. While the three rivers that join in Columbia are a mecca for recreation, he did remind people that their waters could be dangerous. He urged citizens to be cautious and make sure they have an escape route before they commit to go out onto the boulders of the river.