FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks Fire Department rescued two boaters from the Chena River late Saturday evening after their canoe capsized, stranding them in the river near the University Avenue bridge.
According to a Facebook post by the Fairbanks Firefighters Union, a 911 caller reported one paddler on a logjam and another in the water holding on to a log.
Both paddlers were wearing portable flotation devices, according to Brian Davis, battalion chief at FFD. Davis was in charge of the rescue.
FFD responded to the scene shortly after 10 p.m.with a fire engine, a rescue vehicle, an ambulance, a battalion vehicle, a boat and a raft, according to Scott Raygor, Fairbanks Firefighters Union president.
According to the FFU, crew members made contact and took position downstream with throw ropes in case the boaters lost their grip.
Members of the rescue team used a motorized rescue raft to retrieve the paddlers within several minutes of arriving, the Facebook post read.
Neither paddler was injured, according to Davis.
“They were cold and wet,” Davis told the News-Miner. “We got them out of their wet clothes, wrapped in blankets and talked to them for a little bit. And both decided they didn’t need medical attention, so we helped them back to their vehicle so they could go home.”
Davis said FFD experiences an average of one or two river rescues a month during the summer.
“It’s odd because some years we’ll have a lot, some years we’ll have very few. There’s a lot of activity on the river,” Davis said. “Every time we are involved in a rescue like this, it’s a good reminder of how important it is to wear PFDs. The Chena River is deceptive. It actually does classify as swift water, and it’s very cold, so once people go in, they lose strength and dexterity quickly.”
Crews were able to recover the canoe.
Contact staff writer Erin Granger at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMPolitics.