On Tuesday evening at 6:50 PM, Yell County 911 received a report of two juvenile males drowning in the Petit Jean River in Danville. The caller was the mother of one of the boys and she was attempting to rescue them with an inflatable life raft. Danville Police, Yell County Sheriff's Deputies, Yell County OEM,
Yell County Dive Team and Pinnacle EMS were immediately dispatched to respond. Upon arrival emergency service personnel located the two victims, ages 17 and 13, trapped within the current near the spillway area. Apparently both were in Kayaks that were capsized while trying to navigate the rapid currents. Yell OEM Director and Dive Team Member Jeff Gilkey was able to utilize an emergency throw bag near the older juvenile male who was able to capture it. The younger male was able to hold onto him as the rescue team worked together to pull the two to safety. In less than 9 minutes from the time of the call both were safe and being treated by Pinnacle EMS.
Chief Padgett wanted to thank all the emergency responders who responded so quickly and also to the Yell County Mounted Patrol Swift Water Rescue Team who were also responding to assist.
Chief Padgett stated the keys factors were certainly the quick action by the 911 dispatchers, the quick response by emergency services, the rescue throw bag used by Director Gilkey and the responders being able to work together to pull them against the rapid current. This is teamwork at it's best and why we train as much as we do. I can't thank everyone enough as this outcome certainly could have been very tragic. He stated these conditions are very dangerous in this area and it's best to stay away from the spillway and downstream where the currents can easily pull you under.