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Wash. rescue team uses drone to locate boater stranded in river

The man was rescued 4 miles from where he first called rescuers and spent over an hour in the water, Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue said


Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue

By Paloma Chavez
The Charlotte Observer

SNOHOMISH, Wash. — A boater was rescued from a raging river after being left clinging to a tree, Washington officials said.

The man was in a small boat going down the flooding Skykomish River in Monroe and was able to call 911 from his cell phone at about 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 , according to a post on Facebook by the Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue.

It was dark and because of the river’s conditions, rescuers weren’t able to deploy a boat. They decided to set up a base down the river on an overpass “in hopes they could get the man to grab a rope,” firefighters said.

Sky Valley fire officials launched their drone to get a better look at the man in the rain, rescuers said.

He was in an aluminum boat with no oars and only a small headlamp, rescuers said.

The drone was used to tell teams where in the river the man was so they could get the rope ready, firefighters said.

A firefighter threw the rope to the man but once he stood up to grab it, the river’s currents pulled the boat out from under him, officials said.

He landed in the water but was able to swim closer to the shore and cling to a tree in the river, officials said.

After cutting through “thick blackberry bushes,” the crew was able to pull the man to a safe location, officials said.

The man, barefoot, walked himself to the waiting ambulance and was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, rescuers said.

The man was rescued 4 miles from where he first called rescuers and spent over an hour in the water, firefighters said.

Officials didn’t specify if the man was injured.

Monroe is about 30 miles northeast of Seattle .

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