AUBURN (CBS13) — The last day of swift water rescue training for a group of El Dorado Hills firefighters put their practice to the test Wednesday afternoon.
“We immediately looked down the river and we could see a father and a three-year-old boy down about a hundred yards from where we were standing down in the water in a rapid,” Captain Brian Wilkey, El Dorado Hills Fire Department, said.
The firefighters said their Sierra Rescue Internationa training instructor first noticed it and they followed in to help the boy and his father.
“Myself and another one of the personnel that was in the class with us could see the young boy and he was at least three feet underwater. His eyes looked as big as saucers,” Wilkey said.
Two bystanders tried to help along with the first responders and they too were overpowered by the river’s current. All of them were brought safely to shore thanks to these heroes’ swift actions being in the right place at the right time.
“Having the ability and the want to help and go do that. So, blood gets pumping; it’s obviously a little bit more challenging when it’s a real scenario,” Greg Hartman, El Dorado Hills Fire Department, said.
“We take classes to make ourselves better when it comes time to do our job; it feels good,” Mark Netheriton, El Dorado Hills Fire Department, said.
The firefighters told CBS13 none of the people who were rescued had life jackets on. They personally know how dangerous the river can be.
“It might not look like much, but that course gave us a broader view that that water is moving pretty fast and, you know, you’re in the river. And it is a dangerous place to be in,” Raymond Phillips, El Dorado Hills Fire Department
It’s proper training coupled with heroic actions by these first responders and their instructors. Hoping this is a valuable lesson for everyone out on the water.
“Parents need to have life preservers on their kids and on themselves if you in dynamic water,” Hartman said.
“Being a parent, you know, seeing a small child, I’ll have that image locked into my memory probably for the rest of my life,” Wilkey said.
Oddly enough, this crew says their training class was getting ready to do a water rescue simulation just like the one they pulled off just before it happened. The crew does credit their one of their instructors for their training for spotting it and also jumping into action.