WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – A scary situation unfolded late Thursday afternoon in the Tug River, as 38 year old Jeremy Holyfield of Lenore, W. Va. was kayaking with friends in the vicinity of the Williamson Water Plant, when his kayak capsized in an undercurrent.
It is still unknown if the man was trying to go over the spillover, or if he was accidentally swept into it. According to Lieutenant Stephen Casey with the Williamson Fire Department (WFD), they were on scene within three minutes of being dispatched. Upon arrival at the scene the kayaker was obviously in distress, although he had only been in the water for a short amount of time.
Lieutenant Casey was one of the rescuers in the water with the victim and stated he was gasping for air and in the early stages of distress when rescue workers reached him. The firefighters used ropes to throw to the man and pull him to the shore safely.
The Belfry Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) was called due to their department having a boat, however, the request for the boat was called off when members of WFD were able to reach the man. The man was removed from the water before BVFD arrived on scene, but members of BVFD assisted in bringing the man up the steep embankment. The man was transported by STAT Ambulance Service for treatment at a local hospital, he has since been released, according to WFD Chief Joey Carey.
Lieutenant Casey urges kayakers to stay away from this particular area of the river.
Kendra Mahon is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News and the Gilbert Times. She can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2278 or 304-664-8225.