Cayce, SC (Paul Kirby) – First responders from the Cayce Department of Public Safety are on the scene of a possible drowning Wednesday evening in the Congaree River below the Blossom Street Bridge. They asked for and are receiving assistance from the Columbia Fire Department , the Richland County Sheriff's Department, and the SC Department of Natural Resources.
First responders were dispatched after they received a call saying that someone was in the river and had been seen struggling before going under the murky water and not resurfacing. Original reports were that others were with the person in that area where they were skipping rocks and enjoying the cool water. They witnessed the possible drowning of a companion and made the initial call. Cayce’s rescuers have not said how or why the person entered the water or reported any details about the swimmer’s gender, age, or any other details regarding this person.
Cayce quickly requested assistance from the City of Columbia Fire Department. They were asked to launch their boat from the landing on Rosewood Drive and Cayce launched from their side. Eventually personnel from the SC Department of Natural Resources also arrived on scene and divers were working a search pattern near the lock. Divers with Richland County were also assisting in that effort.
Cayce set up a Command Center in Cayce Cove and are coordinating the rescuers from there. They have at least one witness there and are carefully interviewing that person to gain information that might help them in their recovery efforts.
The Congaree River has a substantial drop in elevation in that area that can cause a swift water situation that could sweep a person along quickly. However, there are eddies where a person or any submerged object could be caught by currents and held in several notable pockets under the surface of the river for some time.
We will update you with more information as it becomes available.