June 24, 2009
With one Indiana Conservation Officer saying Blue River was probably the most dangerous water he had ever operated in, a man was rescued from the swollen waterway Friday afternoon.
Shortly after 1:30, officers were dispatched to Blue River, approximately a quarter-mile downstream from Blue River Chapel, where 58-year-old Larry (Doug) Albright was stranded on a log jam in the middle of the raging river.
Albright had been kayaking with his wife, Cathy, when he capsized. The water was rushing and caused his life jacket to slip off as he capsized.
Conservation officers Terry Allen, Neal Brewington, Joe Lackey, Dennis Talley and Jim Schreck responded to the scene, along with staff from O'Bannon Woods State Park and Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department.
Allen, Brewington and Schreck launched a boat at Stagestop Campground and went upstream to the victim. Upon reaching the log jam, officers threw a life jacket to Albright, and he climbed into the boat. The victim was taken to Blue River Chapel, where he was examined by EMS workers from Harrison County Hospital. He had no injuries.
Blue River was swollen from several inches of heavy rain.
"In my short six years on the job, it was definitely the most intense situation that I have ever been in on the water," Schreck said. "(It was) like a scenario straight out of our river rescue school we had during academy training. The water, according to the USGS Web site, was nearly 10 feet deep, in comparison to 4-1/2 feet deep the night before, due to the rain.
"I'd suggest that people stay off the river in these conditions," he said.
Allen agreed that it was probably the most dangerous water that he had ever operated in, outside of training.
"He did an outstanding job of operating the boat," Schreck said of Allen. "One wrong move, and we would have swamped that boat."
It was the second recent river incident. In the other, conservation officers rescued two males who capsized a canoe on Blue River.