Stranded Rafters Rescued From Sacramento River

A lovely Summer day quickly became a nightmare for five people Tuesday afternoon when the raft they were using to float down the Sacramento River hit a snag and started deflating. Just after 4:30PM the stranded rafters called from the middle of the river near Riverview Drive, off Wyndham Lane. They said the raft was losing air and they didn’t have enough life jackets for everyone. Redding Police, Redding Fire and a CHP helicopter responded and they called for help from the Sheriff’s Boating Safety Unit, but the victims said they were getting too cold to hang on to the raft. Seeing that there wasn’t time to wait for the Sheriff’s Department boat, Officer Eddie Gilmette yelled to two men who were on a boat nearby and enlisted their help. Gilmette boarded the boat and, with the help of Duane Shoemaker and Darren Webster, they pulled three of the rafters aboard. The raft came loose and drifted downriver with the other two victims, but the CHP helicopter crew was able to hoist them out of the water.

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