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Training mission turns to river rescue after woman is trapped under log

Swiftwater crews during training Saturday along the Nisqually River had to rescue a woman who had been floating through the area when she became trapped beneath a log, according to the Lacey Fire District 3.
Swiftwater crews during training Saturday along the Nisqually River had to rescue a woman who had been floating through the area when she became trapped beneath a log, according to the Lacey Fire District 3. Courtesy

The Lacey Fire District 3 and Thurston County Sheriff’s Office’s combined swiftwater rescue team was conducting training Saturday afternoon in the Nisqually River at Riverbend Campground.

Then they heard people about 300 yards away from them, Lacey Fire Battalion Chief Patrick Harn said, calling for help.

Four people floating the Nisqually all fell from their inner tubes, Harn said, and one was trapped underwater for about a minute.

“She probably would have drowned if the crew wasn’t there,” Harn said.

The crew’s usual 10-to-15-minute response time was cut to seconds as they went to work getting her free from the log.

The woman’s husband tried to help rescuers as they worked.

Once she was out of the water, the woman refused to be taken to the hospital.

“When we left, she was doing fine,” Harn said.

The three other floaters rescued themselves from the river. They had been floating together and all hit the same log, which flipped each of them into the cold water.

None of the four was wearing a life jacket, Harn said.

The area near Riverbend Campground is among the busiest areas for floaters, Harn said, but it’s also “probably the most dangerous part of the river.”

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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