Fire Dept. rescues two UWEC students from Chippewa River - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Fire Dept. rescues two UW-Eau Claire students from Chippewa River

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Emergency crews were needed this afternoon after the raft of two UW-Eau Claire students began to sink in the Chippewa River.

It happened at the Riverview Drive boat landing on the north side of Eau Claire. Thankfully, no one was injured. The students were using an inflatable raft that had a cooler in it. The rafters were wearing life jackets, but only had one paddle in the raft. When they couldn't control their progress downstream, they latched onto a log to slow themselves down. The students say they hadn't been out on the river yet this year, and were unaware of what the fire department described as dangerous waters.

"I didn't think it was going to be that big of a problem, and even once we were lodged up against the log, I thought we could still get out of it fine. I didn't expect it to be this strong of a current," said Evan Langer, one of two UW-Eau Claire students rescued from the river.

"Due to the rain, the water is higher and moving more quickly than it would under normal conditions. Fortunately due to the quick response and the ability of our personnel we were able to get in and make a quick rescue effort for these people," said Allyn Bertrang, Eau Claire Fire Department Battalion Chief.

The Eau Claire Fire Department was on scene within a few minutes of the initial call. They were able to send out two boats to rescue the students.  

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