On Tuesday July 4, 2017 at 21:47 Hrs, Company 11 was alerted to assist Jefferson County WV with a report of two people stranded on an island near "Bull Falls" on the Shenandoah River. Support 11-1 w/ Bt 11-1 & Utility 11 w/ Boat 11 responded with 5 personnel. Jefferson County Chief 7 arrived and had Jefferson County personnel on scene prepare and launch both Boats 7 & 7-2 and proceeded up stream towards "Bull Falls". Company 11 units were instructed by Command to enter at Millville, Launch both Boats 11 & 11-1 and proceed downstream.
Due to extremely low water and river conditions, boats from Jefferson County were having a hard time reaching the island. Boats 11 & 11-1 were launched from Millville and were met with the same issues as the Jefferson County boats (Boats 7 & 7-2). While the boats continued to try and reach the last known area of the victims, crews were started on foot and followed along the train tracks lining the river.
Having no success heading upstream, Boats 7 & 7-2 staged along the river and provided down stream safety while Boats 11 & 11-1 continued to pick their way through the rocky and shallow river. Crews on foot also were facing their own struggles when they reached an impassable area (cliff) which stopped their progress. Due to the issues facing both boat and foot crews, Command requested the Maryland State Police to assist.
Due to storms in the area and prolonged flight time for Trooper 5 (MSP), Boats 11 & 11-1 continued making slow progress down stream towards the island. While the crews continued to work their ways toward the island, Jefferson County Emergency Communications Center remained on the phone with those stranded on the island, providing search crews with constant updates.
Boats 11 & 11-1 made contact with the stranded occupants shortly after 11:30 PM. Both occupants were checked out and refused medical attention. Due to the river conditions, Chief 11 on board Boat 11 requested the MSP Trooper to conduct a hoist operation. Maryland State Police Trooper 5 minutes out began to set up for a hoist operation. The crew on Boats 11 & 11-1 assisted secured the hoist area and prepared the victims for hoist. Command advised units that the Landing Zone for Trooper 5 would be at the US Customs & Boarder Patrol facility off of Route 340. Command requested an EMS unit to report to the Landing Zone to gather patient refusals, Foot crews to start working their way back out to the launch points and requested units not currently operating to report to the two launch points and assist Boat crews once they have returned to the boat launch.
Trooper 5 & crews from Boat 11 & 11-1 Hoisted both occupants on board Trooper 5, where Trooper 5 transported to the Landing Zone at the US Customs & Boarder Patrol. Upon arrival at the Landing Site both refused medical assistance and refusals were obtained. Both Boats 11 & 11-1 worked their way back to the Millville launch area. Once both Boats had reached the boat launch, Command was terminated and all units were placed in service.
Units: Support 11-1 w/ Bt 11-1, Utility 11 w/ Bt 11