Local News

Heavy Currents, High Water Cause Trouble For Boaters In Nash, Chatham Counties

Posted May 25, 2003

— A dramatic river rescue ended just before 6 p.m. Sunday in Nash County.

A helicopter pulled three people from a rock in the middle of the Tar River.

Emergency officials said the three were rafting near the Battle Park Dam early Sunday afternoon when they spilled over the dam. They ended up stranded on a rock around 2 p.m.

Rescuers called in a helicopter to get them out of the water.

Officials said that, from what they could tell, the three suffered only minor injuries.

The dramatic rescue came a day after swift currents flipped two boats in the same part of the Cape Fear River at different times. At least one fisherman said he won't be going back to the river anytime soon.

Jimmy Marsh went into the Cape Fear River near Moncure in Chatham County on Saturday to rescue two men whose boat had capsized. But Marsh ended up a victim, too, stranded with the men on a rock for six hours.

A helicopter also was needed to complete that rescue. A chopper from Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point got the men off the rock late Saturday night.

Coincidentally, Marsh and the two boaters were brought to safety just hours after two other men were rescued from the same rock after their boat had capsized.

Danny Wimberly of the Moncure Fire Department said people don't understand how dangerous the water is, noting that what looks calm in one spot could be rocky and swift just a mile further downstream.

"We typically have about two of these each year," Wimberly said. "Hopefully, we got both of ours over with in one day."

Parts of the Cape Fear River are extra dangerous because the water is so high.

The high water can be blamed on Jordan Lake. According to the Army Corp of Engineers, heavy rains have forced them to release water from Jordan Lake, which flows down to the Cape Fear.

The lake level reportedly is about four feet above normal.

Despite the dangerous parts of the Cape Fear River, many fishermen go out, anyway, their sights set on the river's big catfish. But after his scare Saturday, Marsh said he has had enough.

"It's life-threatening, and I won't do it again," Marsh said. "That's a promise."

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