Jasper Fire Captain David Clark said the two women had to be rescued after finding themselves on Blackwater Creek as darkness fell, which he said happens to many who are unfamiliar with the area who attempt to float the creek.
“They said they put in at the bridge on (Highway) 195 in Manchester and were planning on floating down the creek to the bridge on Walston Bridge Road,” Clark said. “But they didn’t realize it was taking longer than they thought it would, so when it started getting dark, they decided to stop and get to the bank.”
Unfamiliar with the area, they called 911 and gave their GPS coordinates to the dispatcher. Firefighters were able to pinpoint a location near where the women had gotten out of the water to somewhere near Ridgebrook subdivision.
Clark said Jasper Fire sent two teams to search for the women, one covered the west side of the creek and another which covered the east side.
“We got help from some residents who were familiar with the area and they led us to the ladders that lead down the rock bluffs to the creek, which put us within a 1/2 mile of the GPS coordinates given by the women,” Clark said. “We walked up the creek in the water for about a half-mile and saw the women just ahead of us about 100 yards, but we couldn’t reach them. We made voice contact with them and had them float down the creek to us.”
Clark said, thankfully, the women were not injured and had done as they were told by staying put in one spot until firefighters could locate them.
“The area was rough leading down to the creek. There were some pretty big bluffs. So things could have turned out differently for everyone,” Clark said. “But we had some folks who knew the area real well and were able help us locate these two ladies.”