Inside Swiftwater Rescue Training


By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "There is a survivability factor based on the water temperature. The hypothermia actually helps in prolonging survivability," says Jason Krusen, Special Operations Chief with the Columbia Fire Department

But, when someone goes into a river in need of rescue the clock is ticking to get them out alive.

"It could be a couple of minutes as far as up to one hour," says Krusen

Krusen was among men and women from six different agencies taking part in swift water rescue training Friday.

"So we can get a formulated game plan when we do these responses, because often they stretch in between multiple jurisdictions," says Krusen

In some cases, like the Blossom Street bridge crash in January, the victims do not survive.

But, there are those like the Irmo rescue earlier this month where two people were rescued from an island in the Saluda river.

"It's proving the need for it, we're seeing a better working relationship and communications between the multiple agencies," says Krusen

Searches can often take several days, like those involving reported jumpers from the I-20 bridge and the Gervais Street bridge. Neither rescue attempt turned up victims.

Though yesterday DNR reported a body found in the brush of the Congaree River. We've now learned Darrell Rottenbury is the victim, according to the coroner, he was reported missing around the same time the jump was reported.

Officials have not confirmed a connection.

Back at training, Krusen says with temperatures warming up more people are out enjoying rivers, but the dangers are still there.

"Even though you have warm weather, the Saluda River is coming out of the bottom of the lake. So, it's a continual cold temperature in the low 50's," says Krusen.
Current: 56°
High: 56°
Low: 52°
Wind: 7 MPH
Pressure: 30.06
Humidity: 84 %

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