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17 canoeists rescued from Blue River

Indiana conservation officers, along with other responders from both Harrison and Washington counties, helped rescue 17 people from the Blue River in Fredericksburg at about noon Saturday.
The call initially was about a man trapped in his canoe/kayak against debris in the water. While en route, responders were advised of multiple people in the water and along the shore from capsizing.
‘The person from the initial call was rescued by another canoeist,’ Jim Hash, Indiana conservation officer, said.
The canoeists/kayakers had left Old Mill Canoe Rental in Fredericksburg, located two to three miles upstream from where the incident occurred, for their trip, Hash said.
‘A large tree dislodged by recent weather had almost completely blocked the river channel,’ he said, ‘and high water and (the) swift current made negotiating the obstruction extremely treacherous, causing the capsizings.
At least 17 people, ranging in age from 8 years to adult, were rescued from either the shore or the water.
‘Rescue efforts were hampered by both the number of subjects, terrain and water conditions,’ Hash said.
‘Both boats and ATVs were utilized to locate and transport those off the water,’ he said.
There were no reports of injuries, but some of the canoeists were probably dehydrated, Hash said.
Other agencies assisting the conservation officers included the Washington County Sheriff’s Dept., Posey Township Volunteer Fire Dept., Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept., Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept. and Harrison County Hospital Emergency Medical Services.
Indiana conservation officers urge everyone to always check current water levels prior to starting out on the river, to be familiar with the waterway and to always wear a life jacket.

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