Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County firefighters responded to a water rescue on Sterling Lake Drive off Old Chapin Road Saturday afternoon. They were requested after a man who was in a private pond using a small boat was pulled into the pond’s outfall structure or spillway by the storng current.
The victim was reported to be waist deep in the structure when firefighters first began trying to assist him. The ambient temperature at the time was 43 degrees but the water temps could have been much less. This could have easily brought about deadly hypothermia.
Rescuers struggled to get a harness around the stuck man quickly, but they were having difficulty doing so because the water was flowing so fast causing tremendous suction. They were afraid that any more movement could have sucked the man further into the pond’s outfall structure and then through the spillway pipe.
The first battalion chief to arrive said that the strong suction of the water rushing through the pipe had a terrific grip on the man. He called for more manpower from Lexington County, special equipment from the City of Columbia Fire Department, and a taller ladder tower truck from the Irmo Fire District. The firefighters asked that another kayaker get out of the water as the fire service launched their boat. A representative from the SCDNR was also on scene.
Before most of the other specialized equipment arrived, it was turned around to return to quarters because the victim was no longer stuck according to the chief. At least one patient was evaluated by a crew from Lexington County EMS and eventually, someone was transported from the scene in an ambulance. The status of the health of the man stuck in the pond was not released.
The battalion chief reported that the rescue was completed just before 4:45 p.m. He and the rest of the equipment left the scene at that time.