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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rescue of people of Spring Creek and Chipola River

On Saturday, April 18, 2009 at approximatley 6:17PM, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office received a telephone call from Johnny Barfield reporting that he heard people on the Chipola River yelling for help. Barfield stated that he located a large group of individuals who were in distress. They told him, they were tuning down Spring Creek when they began to encounter problems. This group of tubers had been separated from each other as they floated toward the Chipola River. Barfield observed the water near the creek was flowing in reverse, which pushed the tubers back into the creek instead of allowing them to flow into the river. Many of the tubers were clinging to the trees and fallen branches. These tubers were near the area know as the "Mouth of the Creek". Barfield stated he put as many people as he could in his boat and deaded for the boat ramp to bring them to safety. He further stated there were still an unknown number of tubers yelling for help. Those tubers were trapped further up Spring Creek as he was unable to reach them.
Members of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office Dive Team and officers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission responded to the call for help. These agencies launched their boars at the Magnolia boat landing and traveled north in the Chipola River toward Spring Creek.
All Along the river there were people floating down the river toward the landing. These people told deputies there were numerous tubers still stranded along the creek and river. Those who had been rescued, further stated they could not see due to darkenss and thick vegetation along the waterway.
Many of the tubes were entangled and deflated. Floats and debris were scattered along the waterways and into the swampy areas along the creek.
Members of the Sheriff's Office Dive Team located a group of six individuals stranded on the bank of the Chipola River approximately one-quarter mile south of the entrance to Spring Creek. As they were loaded onto the boat they stated that they were extremely cold but ok. The rescue boat continued on toward Spring Creek. Upon entrance into Spring Creek, deputies heard voices sreaming for help. Another group of 8 tubers were located approximatley one mile into Spring Creek. These tubers were also loaded onto the boat. They were transported back to the Magnolia Boat Landing where members of Jackson County Fire/Rescue were waiting to treat them. Fire/Rescue personnel treated them as they arrived at the landing. In addition to law enforcement vessels respongding, civilian boats were also helping in the rescue operation. These boats assisted ten people that had been stranded on Spring Creek.
A total of 24 people were rescued from the waters of the Chipola River and Spring Creek. There were two males recovered fromt he railroad tracks near State Road 71 by a member of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, after walking along the tracks to seek help. Four other individuals walked to safety and were later found at Arrowhead Campgrounds.
The success of this rescue mission was due to the efforts of Johnnie Barfield who made the call for help, officers of the Floirda Fish and Wildlife Commission, members of Jackson County Fire/Rescue, The Marianna Fire Department, the civilian boat operators, Florida State Hospital, Jackson Hospital and Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

1 comment:

  1. It seems as though the final line of this article should read, "All governmental agencies involved would like the thank Johnny Barfield for taking immediate action and helping his fellow man".
    I mean, he did most of the work didn't he?