Mid-South rivers more dangerous from weeks of hard rain

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It hasn’t rained in several days, but right now rivers in our area are more dangerous in the aftermath of the storms.

The Wolf River is swift this weekend.

“The current is very fast the water is deep,” said Shelby County Sheriff`s Department spokesperson Chip Washington.

The river is swollen.

It’s so high and hasty because of hard rain that pummeled the Mid-South this past month.

The currents are partially to blame for causing a man’s kayak to capsize Saturday while he was out on water with his family.

“Being that today is Father`s Day, it makes it doubly tough. We pray for his family in this very difficult time,” said Washington.

Washington says an off duty county rescue worker first spotted the family who could not find the missing dad.

“They happened to be in that area, and were flagged down by a frantic family member,” Said Washington.

The tough water that flipped over the man’s kayak was also a problem for those trying to rescue him. It was too dangerous to go out.

“Anytime you are dealing with a situation like this, with a body of water and where we are located, a lot of the access points are very difficult to get to,” said Washington.

About an hour after he disappeared, rescuers pulled him from the rushing river.

Sadly, the father died at the hospital.

“It’s very much a tragedy, we’re sorry for the family,” said Joe Royer, sponsor of the Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race.

At Pike Lake at Shelby Farms Sunday, dozens of families spent the holiday on more peaceful waters.

Royer also offered safety lessons, “That’s the critical part of any recreation is to be safe first.”

Royer said with the weather we’ve had, it’s critical to monitor water levels before you head out on the water.

Once you get there, check it out.

“When a river is rising there’s debris in it. It floats sticks and logs off the bank. When its falling, those settle on the bank,” said Royer.

It is not known how skilled the father who died was, or if he was wearing his life jacket.

Royer stressed if you plan on heading out, make sure you’re equipped to handle to the water.


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