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(Lilburn, Ga., April 16, 2022) – Firefighters responded at 6:33 p.m. to a report of three stranded kayakers on the Yellow River near the 4500 block of Stone Mountain Highway SW in Lilburn. The 911 caller advised one of their friend’s kayaks had overturned and they were sitting on a branch in the river.

Crews from Fire Station 22 arrived on scene in approximately two minutes and attempted to make visual contact from the Stone Mountain Highway bridge over the Yellow River. The river was at a higher-than-normal flow due to recent rains. With additional swiftwater rescue training due to Station 22’s close proximity to the Yellow River, firefighters immediately put a plan in motion to make contact and rescue the three individuals. One kayaker was located downstream from the bridge and standing on a sandbar. A personal flotation device (PFD) was thrown to the individual to don before bringing them back to shore with a throw rope. The other two kayakers were located upstream from the bridge with one standing on a sandbar and another sitting on a branch above the water. One individual was wearing a PFD and the other was thrown a PFD to don. Additional personnel on scene were designated as downstream safeties before both people were pulled to shore using throw ropes. All three individuals were uninjured and safely on shore within 40 minutes of firefighters arriving scene.

Members of the Department’s Swiftwater Rescue Team had arrived on scene shortly before the last two individuals were rescued. The team was able to oversee the plan that initial rescuers had put into place and were standing at the ready with additional personnel and equipment if needed.

Equipment at the scene included: 2-Engines, 1-Ladder Truck, 1-Squad, 1-Swiftwater Rescue Unit, 1-Medic Unit and 1-Battalion Chief

Note: Pictures of the incident can be located on Facebook and Twitter @GwinnettFire.

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