West Columbia Police Officer Rescues Canoeist from Flooded Congaree River

10:31 PM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
  • A West Columbia police officer swims out to a canoeist in distress in the Congaree river. (photo by Lauren Leadmon)
  • A West Columbia police officer reaches the canoeist in distress in the Congaree River. (photo by Lauren Leadmon)
  • West Columbia police officer gathers his things while USC senior nursing student Ashley Hartenback checks out the canoeist. (photo by Lauren Leadmon)
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COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - A canoeist on the Congaree River has a West Columbia police officer to thank for helping him get to shore when his canoe overturned this afternoon. 

According to witnesses, a little before 5 p.m. Friday, a canoeist was seen clinging to the side of his upside down canoe in the Congaree River near the West Columbia Riverwalk.  

A West Columbia police officer, who patrols the Riverfront Park, became concerned that the canoeist would not be able to bring himself to shore and jumped in to get him out. 

Ashley Hartenback, a USC senior nursing student said, "We were walking at the Riverwalk, me and my friend Lauren Leadmon.   We couldn't believe how flooded it was."  Hartenback stepped away to use the restroom and when she came out her friend told her about the rescue. 

"They were asking if anyone had any medical training.  I went over to check on the guy that they pulled out.  He was exhausted.  He said that they were going down the rapids and they were a lot bigger than they thought and he fell out.  Someone brought him a blanket and Lauren gave him a jacket and they took him to get warm and wait for EMS."


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