Stranded mother, child pulled from Deep River

Jul. 31, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Chatham County rescuers worked late into Monday night rescuing a mother and her 10-year-old son who had gotten stranded by rapidly rising waters while fishing Monday evening.

Moncure Fire Department Chief Todd Harrington said the call for help came in at about 7 p.m., and his team and others were on the scene past midnight. His department led the rescue efforts on the Deep River — specifically a rocky area near where U.S. 1 crosses over the river close to the Lee County line.

Harrington said he didn’t know the identities of the people who were saved, members of a Hispanic family, but they declined a hospital visit and no one seemed hurt.

“From what we could gather — you know, they didn’t speak English real good — they had been fishing all day, and the water got a little too much for them,” Harrington said. “We never found their boat or canoe or whatever. It capsized, and the dad managed to make it to shore, but the mom and the child were stuck.”

Harrington said due to the unusually large amounts of rain lately, it’s inadvisable to go out on the river because the water’s depth and current can rise suddenly — as happened Monday.

“If you’re going be on the water, especially after all this rain we’ve had — well, wear a life jacket,” he said. “But really, with all this rain, stay off the river. Because if you’re not being safe, you’re jeopardizing my guys’ lives.”

Harrington said the rescue was launched from an old marina the department has permission to use in emergencies, and specialized water rescue teams from Apex and North Chatham lent equipment and manpower. Harrington said the area they responded to Monday hasn’t had many issues, but that his team is frequently called out to the Buckhorn dam downstream.

The chief urged people to think twice about going down there or to anywhere else they might be in danger, especially without taking proper equipment and precautions.