On Sunday, at approximately 4:30pm, Dutchess County 911 dispatched the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Wassaic Fire Department and Town of Amenia EMS to the Ten Mile River for a report of a male and female in the middle of the river holding onto a log.
Due to the complexity of this technical water rescue, a unified command system was established and additional resources were requested to the scene including swift-water rescue technicians from the Arlington and LaGrange Fire Departments, Sheriff’s Office Marine, Underwater Search & Recovery and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Units, Millerton Fire Department with a Utility Terrain Vehicle, Kent (CT) Fire Department with a boat, and personnel from the Amenia, Dover, and Pine Plains Fire Departments, Town of Dover EMS, Millbrook Fire EMS, Northern Dutchess Paramedics, Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police and the New York State Police.
Flooded areas from recent rainstorms and the general terrain created challenges for the first responders to access the river and locate the victims. Dutchess County 911 dispatchers were able to stay on the phone line with the victim while simultaneously directing first responders to the victim’s exact location using GPS information from the victim’s cellphone.
Once river access was gained, swift-water rescue technicians were able to set up a high-line system, deploy rescue boats and rescue the two victims from the fast-moving river. Both victims were transported by ambulance to Vassar Brothers Hospital.
Investigation reveals that a 27-year-old male from Dix Hills, NY and a 25-year-old female from Melville, NY, were tubing down the Ten Mile River and encountered problems. The female started to struggle in the water, but the male was able to assist her. As a result, the male injured his shoulder. Both subjects were able to get onto a downed tree that was in the river until they could be saved by swift-water rescue technicians. Neither of the victims were wearing life jackets.
The Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone to avoid rivers, streams, and creeks after rainstorms. No one should be engaging in recreational water activity during these dangerous conditions. Increased water levels and powerful currents are extremely treacherous. Other hazards such as debris being washed down stream, water obstructions and strainers create a life-threatening situation for anyone in storm waters.
All images courtesy of Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office UAS Unit