Accident Database

Report ID# 3829

  • Impact/Trauma
  • Other
  • Other

Accident Description

 UPDATE: Eight rescued from James River in Rockbridge County

WDBJ7 Anchor/Reporter Chris Hurst Chris Hurst,

May 19, 2014

ROCKBRIDGE CO., Va. -What was supposed to be a post-graduation trip for a group from Lynchburg ended cold, wet and humbling. A half dozen visitors to the James River in Rockbridge County were dumped from inner-tubes after rapids caught them off guard. "It was a little too dangerous, river was high and really rough," said Jessica McDonnell. But rains from last week kept water levels too high for inner-tubes."It's not usually this rough when I come down," said McDonnell.

And when Jessica McDonnell and some friends came to the newly-intense rapids, they flipped over and into the frigid water. "They were tubing and the water levels are still pretty high, so I'd encourage people who don't have experience to stay out of the water," said McDonnell. But it didn't take long for swift water crews from Glasgow and Bedford County to rescue the group as one man hurt his back and Jessica's friend hurt her foot. "Got up to 'em, two were injured one had a back injury, one a leg injury. We assessed them on the bank, put them in the two boats and brought them back down the river with us," said John Hill. "Since it's so high we can't see the rocks as well and the foot just slammed on the rocks, she got tipped over and slammed on the rocks and they just hit the rocks under," said McDonnell.

The rescue comes the same month as 18 members of the Glasgow swift water team and others were re-certified in rescue operations. Their previous certificates came into question after their teacher, the former Buena Vista fire chief, was indicted for forgery and fraud. And while the six tubers were being helped, the swift water team had to respond to two more in a canoe upriver that also tipped. "So we had to help them out on the side and retrieve their canoe for them and their belongings." said Hill.

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