Little River rescue: Six stranded tubers rescued in Townsend
By Iva Butler (email@example.com)
Six members of a single family were rescued after they wiped out on tubes and washed up Sunday on the mountain side of Little River in Townsend.
The call came in to Townsend Volunteer Fire Department at 7:11 p.m. Sunday for the part of the river near Great Smokies KOA Campground off Scenic Tenn. 73. said Townsend Fire Chief Don Stallions.
“The original call came out that one in the water was not breathing,” he said. This turned out to not be true.
The family tubing together were from Ecuador, Conga, Florida, Alcoa, Greenback and Pigeon Forge. They ranged from 10 to 60 years of age.
“They all wiped out and washed up on shore together,” Stallions said. “The river was up from recent rains. The river bends there and there are several whitewater spots there.”
Ten personnel were on the scene, four of whom are on the Swift Water Rescue Team. “Everybody that we put in the water were Swift Water II techs,” Stallions said.
Firefighters went across the river on ropes, put life jackets on the tubers and ferried them to the other side of the river.
The mountain is about 50 feet straight up at that point.
The operation took 90 minutes to complete.
The eight family members who were tubing, including six who were rescued, were Wes Smith of Conga, Morgan Smith of Pigeon Forge, Casie Marrie Wilkinson of Alcoa, Margaret McCarn of Greenback, Ivan Aldas of Ecuador, Milton Aldas of Florida, Ruth Bautista of Ecuador and Luz Cortes of Florida.
Townsend Police Department also responded to the call.