KAYAKER WHO DROWNED IN
WAS WEARING A LIFE
JACKET, FIRE OFFICIAL SAYS
BY TEDDY KULMALA, THE
APRIL 30, 2019 03:51 PM,
UPDATED APRIL 30, 2019
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC When
two kayakers became distressed Saturday on the Saluda River, firefighters were
at the river training for swift-water rescues.
Two Columbia Fire
Department teams were at the Saluda River for re-certification in swift-water
rescue, and were about to take a break just before noon Saturday, department
spokesman Mike DeSumma said.
“They saw a person in
distress floating down the river and an empty kayak,” DeSumma said. The firefighters leaped
into action and rescued the swimmer, who was able to get to a rock, DeSumma
said. Then he told firefighters that his friend also was in a kayak but fell
out and ended up in the water.
upstream and spotted a red life jacket, which was on 27-year-old Gregory Hinson
Jr., DeSumma said. They pulled Hinson from the water and into the boat and
began performing CPR on him the entire way to Prisma Health Richland Hospital. Hinson died at 7:20 p.m.
from asphyxiation due to drowning, the Richland County Coroner’s Office said.
It’s still unclear what
caused Hinson and his friend to go into distress on the river, and if they were
in one kayak or separate boats, DeSumma said.