Local News

Raleigh church group rescued from Uwharrie River

Posted June 18, 2009
Updated June 19, 2009

— Thirty members of a Raleigh church youth group were rescued Thursday from the Uwharrie River, which was filled with swift moving water from recent rains.

rescue Water rescue successful in Montgomery County

The group from The Living Word Family Church – including six adults and children aged 10 and 12 – was boating from Uwharrie River's Low Water Bridge, near the Uwharrie National Forest, said Montgomery County spokeswoman Laura Morton. Members became separated, and one called 911 shortly after noon.

"The rocks and stuff caught up to quite a few of our kayaks," Matt Beeman told the 911 operator. "There's kids stranded on trees and stuff."

The church group, led by a charter company called God's Country Outfitters, was surprised when fast-moving water sped by rainfall upriver separated nine kayakers from the main group, said company owner Nathan Davis. Authorities were called in when that smaller group, which included two adults, missed a designated takeout point from the river.

Officials said emergency responders from neighboring counties and a Highway Patrol helicopter assisted in the search near Reservation Road and N.C. Highway 109.

"We were able to corral them back together and get them all back in the group and get them out of the forest,” said Alan Griffin, with Montgomery County EMS.

Rescuers found the missing kayakers beyond their planned takeout point a few hours after the 911 call. No one was injured.

Morton said the group consisted of six adults and 24 children, ages 10 to 12. Davis said the children were wearing life jackets and were never in serious danger.

The youth group plans to continue its four-day trip to God's County Outfitters, which includes Bible studies and outdoor activities.

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  • giterdungirl Jun 19, 2009

    i hate kayaking :(

  • csswisher Jun 19, 2009

    What business did they have out on such a nasty, muddy river swollen with rainwater?

  • gr Jun 19, 2009

    Oops wrong story...

  • ccsloop Jun 19, 2009

    As much as it has rained the last week, I can't imagine taking a bunch of novices out on the river. Didn't sound like very good judgement.

  • NCSU2004 Jun 19, 2009

    This is just dumb. They should have known better. With that being said, I'm glad they all got out ok.

  • veyor Jun 19, 2009

    This happens over and over when rivers are flooded. Stay tuned for the next one.

  • norskagent Jun 19, 2009

    According to the outfitter's own website, none of the leaders/instructors have any certified outdoor guiding experience! Their qualifications are phrased with statements like "lifelong outdoor enthusiast" or "well known for his climbing, rappelling, and backpacking skills" - none of which show certification or industry recognition.

  • oldrebel Jun 19, 2009

    Blogged on GOLO at http://www.wral.com/golo/blogpost/5390807/

  • Bendal1 Jun 19, 2009


    I don't know about you, but high fat food, stringy beef, pizzas, questionable vegetables and generic dry goods hardly constitute "top line food" to me. My wife and I purchased one of their generic orders last month and were very disappointed in the quality of the food. There were a few good items but the bulk of the two boxes was generic, badly labeled products and some were of such questionable quality we threw them out. I doubt we'll be using the angelfood ministries again.

    As for these numbskulls kayaking down a flooded river, I hope the rescuers bill them for saving their stupid selves. It demonstrated an extreme lack of common sense or responsibility by sending kids into that situation, and the later statements that "God must have intended them for something later in life" is just ridiculous. What's next, running across a busy highway and trusting to God to get across?

  • KevInApex Jun 19, 2009

    I am very thankful all are OK and a tragedy was avoided. Obviously some very bad planning by someone, I would assume the outfitter. Perhaps the cost of the rescue effort should be covered by those who planned this foolish trip.