Local News

Raleigh church group rescued from Uwharrie River

Posted June 18, 2009 3:38 p.m. EDT
Updated June 19, 2009 6:40 a.m. EDT

— 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.

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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