Deputies rescue 7 from local rivers

Published 12:03 am Thursday, June 2, 2011

Covington County Sheriff’s deputies rescued at least seven people stranded in area  rivers during the Memorial Day weekend – including a teen girl in the throes of an asthma attack.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said the first rescue occurred around 10 p.m. Saturday when a local couple was boating down the Cone-cuh River from Broo-klyn Bridge toward Harts Bridge.

“The couple stopped on a sand bar about half way down the trip, when the boat got loose from them and drifted down river,” Meeks said. “They were able to use their cell phone to call for help.”

Meeks said around 3 a.m. Sunday, Sgt. Lamar Stokes and Sheriff’s Posse member Joe Barton hiked into the area where the couple was and assisted them out to the road. Later in the morning, Sheriff Reserve Deputy Stacey Davis assisted the owner in retrieving his boat.

Later that evening, a private citizen called stating he’d dropped off three females and two males from the Baldwin County area at the bridge on Open Pond Road earlier in the day. He said the group had made the trip before; however, he had not heard from them.

“That was about 9 p.m. on Cty. Road 4,” Meeks said. “A local citizen advised deputies that he’d heard people screaming for help off of (Conecuh National) Forest Rd 337.”

Meeks said Stokes and Barton, along with reserve deputy Jeremy Williams, were able to locate the group.

“Upon arrival, deputies had to climb down an embankment and cross the river to the other side and travel downstream until they found the group,” he said. “One of the subjects, a 16-year-old female, was having a severe asthma attack and was transported by Advanced EMS to the ER at Andalusia Regional Hospital.”

Meeks stressed the need to prepare for emergencies when boating on local waterways.

“If you’re going to be traveling on the rivers this summer, take flashlights, water and a way to communicate in the event you become stranded,” he said. “Also, use caution due to the fact that all rivers are down due to the lack of rain.”