Rescue crews from nearly a dozen agencies converged on Burlington’s northeastern periphery on Monday after a man somehow became trapped within the frigid waters of the Haw River.
This multi-agency operation began at about 9:00 a.m. after an area resident called 9-1-1 to report that they could hear cries of distress coming from somewhere near the 500 block of Riverside Drive.
According to Burlington’s fire department, rescue workers used boats, drones, and all terrain vehicles to search for the aggrieved individual, who was finally located at about 9:30 a.m. partially submerged in the water just off the Haw River Trail.
“Fire and rescue personnel utilized ropes to create a harness to lift the individual out of the water and up onto the riverbank,” the city’s fire department reported later that day. “Crews then used a personally owned UTV with a trailer to evacuate the individual from the riverbank, as it was too remote for any other type of vehicle to access.”
According to the fire department, the man was transported by ambulance to a city-owned training center, from where he was airlifted to Duke University Hospital. In the meantime, personnel on the scene were left to puzzle over just what had occurred. Among their unanswered questions are what the man had been doing when he became trapped in the river, what kept him from getting out of the water, and how long he had been there before help had arrived.
In addition to Burlington’s fire department, this incident also drew personnel from a large number of other agencies and organizations. These groups included Alamance County Emergency Management, Alamance
County EMS, Alamance County Rescue, Burlington Emergency Management, Duke Life-Flight, the municipal police departments in both Burlington and Haw River, and the Faucette, Haw River, and Altamahaw-Ossipee fire departments.