THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Firefighters Rescue Three Jet Ski Passengers From Peshtigo River
Issue Date: May 18, 2022
Swift and effective action by City and Town of Peshtigo Fire Department personnel and quick reactions of a jet ski operator prevented a near tragedy in the raging waters of the Peshtigo River just above the dam on Saturday, May ---. The male driver of the jet ski and two female passengers were returned safely to shore by volunteer rescue workers. The jet ski went over the dam and was later found downstream.
The three were sharing a ride on the flowage above the dam at about --- p.m. when strong currents caught the jet ski and sent it out of control under the bridge on French Street (formerly Hwy. 41 through the city) just above the dam. Water levels in the river were extremely high due to spring thaws and recent heavy rains.
As the jet ski washed swiftly under the bridge on its journey toward the dam the driver and his passengers were able to grab a cable that ran under the bridge. The two women managed to move themselves to nearby buoys, and the man hung onto the cable with one hand and the jet ski with the other until help arrived.
Observers from shore called 911 and City of Peshtigo Fire Department volunteers were on the scene in just four and a half minutes, with rescue gear ready to go. Town of Peshtigo Fire Department had already been asked to bring their rescue boat to the scene, and they arrived in less than -- minutes.
City of Peshtigo Fire Chief Chuck Gardon said as soon as they arrived firefighters from his department rushed to the rescue. Their equipment includes a flotation device attached to a 600-foot coil of rope, with that length selected to be sure it can reach across the river. By observing flow of the water the firemen were able to get the flotation device to the man, who was then convinced to release his hold on the jet ski and be hauled to safety while the jet ski went on over the dam.
Meanwhile, the Town of Peshtigo Firefighters got the two women off the buoys and safely into their water rescue boat.
Gardon said his personnel had trained to use their flotation device in cold water rescue training, but this was its first use in an actual rescue.
He suggested some prayers of thanks should be offered for the successful rescue, since the outcome could easily have been so very, very different.