Fire chief adds details to drowning story

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Matthew Stout

Chapel Hill Fire Chief

On Friday, July 4, at approximately 2:40 pm, the Chapel Hill Fire Department responded with Marshall County Emergency Medical Service to Henry Horton State Park for a person in the river, possible drowning. While responding, Chapel Hill's Fire Chief requested Farmington-Rich Creek Fire Department to respond with their boat. Maury County Fire Department was also requested for their boat and water rescue equipment. Marshall County Emergency Management Agency was also sent to the scene.

Initial reports stated that several people were missing in the river, and details were difficult to understand due to a language barrier. It was determined that four people had entered the river, and two had not resurfaced. Boats from FRCVFD, MCEMA, Maury County Fire and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency were utilized in the search effort. State park rangers were also involved with the search.

Approximately 35 emergency responders helped with the search, along with the state officials with TWRA and Horton Park Rangers. Multiple Chapel Hill firefighters filled unique roles in the incident, including one who translated between families and emergency responders and another who was already fishing on the river in his boat and responded to help find those missing, utilizing his boat.

Both missing men were found by search teams by about 5 p.m. This incident required extensive teamwork from multiple agencies and the Chapel Hill Fire Department would like to thank all those who assisted.

Those involved in water recreation are advised to always wear life jackets. Even those who are strong swimmers should wear life jackets because emergencies can happen when you least expect them.

Our condolences go out to those who lost loved ones that day.