NEAR SPOKANE -- A rafting trip down the Little Spokane River ended with an unusual rescue late Wednesday night. Firefighters arrived to find a woman waist deep in mud.
A couple was floating down the Little Spokane River a few miles west from the Spokane Country Club when their raft deflated. Spokane County Fire District 9 Deputy Chief Jack Cates said the two tried to walk out of the river to the nearby Rutter Parkway. The man got out and flagged down a driver to call 911. The woman got stuck waist deep in the mud for more than three hours.
"It was completely dark," said Cates. "You have the earth trying to swallow you basically in mud, and everywhere you walk, you run into a tree or brush or into more swamp area. So it was very stressful for them."
Cates said rescue teams had to use a chainsaw to cut their way more than 100 yards to the woman. Crews used backboards to keep her from sinking deep into the swampy water.
"What turned out to be just somebody calling for help turned out to be pretty much out of the ordinary call for us," said Cates.
It has also been an out of the ordinary few summers for Spokane County Fire District 9. Cates said crews have responded to seven river rescues. Cates said they usually average three or four a year. Four of the rescues this year have been on the Spokane River. The others have been on the much slower Little Spokane River.
Cates said the Little Spokane River rescues are more difficult because of the remote and rugged terrain. He cautions people to always have a plan and be prepared for the anything.