As swift water rescue team stays busy, official urges caution about river hazards

A tree that fell across the Payette River in the left-hand portion of this photo was removed by Payette County deputies in May of 2016, following a couple incidents that had left people in precarious situations on the river. There is no way for the Payette County Sheriff's Office to do this on a regular basis however, and officials are urging people to watch for these types of hazards on the river.

PAYETTE COUNTY — It’s a popular time of year to cool off in the river by cruising down it in a raft or float, however, two incidents over the weekend have prompted a safety reminder from the Payette County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office swift water rescue team went out twice this past weekend to help with rescue operations on the Payette River. However, both incidents were minor and ended up sorting themselves out without the assistance of first responders.

In the first case on Saturday evening, Lt. Andy Creech said a couple and their daughter ended up “rescuing themselves.” This was after they had yelled to people on the shore to call 911.

Though he wasn’t certain the exact details, Creech said it sounded like they were either rafting or playing in the river, then got into some trouble.

Then, on Sunday, a lady who was rafting in Payette was unable to get out of the current to get to the side of the river.

She eventually got out near Seneca, down from the Sixth Street Bridge and before the Greenbelt, Creech said.

“It’s a good time to remind people to wear personal floatation devices,” he said.

In addition, if recreating on the river don’t “be intoxicated when doing it.”

While these things were not factors in the incidents this week-end, Creech said “it’s a good reminder.”

In addition, there are hazards in the Payette River that could cause accidents that might not be noticed until it is too late.

“We don’t have crews to go clean out low hanging trees and brushes, and sometimes the current will sweep into those things, which will get people trapped in the river and has caused drownings,” Creech said.

“They need to know those hazards exist.”

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