High river prompts 10 recent rescues, and continues to rise

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—The river is running high and keeps rising, causing 10 river rescues in just a few days span.

It’s been a busy few days for river rescuers at the City of Richmond’s Fire Company 1. 

“It’s because of the bad weather coming through and the river running high,” says Richmond Fire and Rescue Lt. Raymond Neville.

Around 6 o’clock Tuesday evening, three men were rescued near Hollywood Rapids after two friends jumped in to help a struggling friend who was caught in the rapids.  The man was washed downstream about a hundred yards and received minor injuries from bumping into several rocks.

He was treated by paramedics and released.

On Sunday, seven other people were pulled from the same area of the James, including five teenagers and a child.

While rescue workers say they are accustomed to taking around a hundred calls a year, they’re concerned about the coming days when river levels are expected to rise.

The river right now is below six feet and it’s going to get up to 11 ½ feet in the next 12 hours,” says Neville.  “That means the water is going to double in size.”

Neville says rescuers are worried about the annual Dominion River Rock Festival this weekend, that will include a race where runners enter the water.

“That’s going to be a lot of people at the river unfamiliar with the conditions they’re getting themselves into.” Neville says.

When the river is above five feet, the law requires people to wear life vests or use a personal floatation device.

Neville says when the water levels reach above 9 feet, swimming and recreational activities are not allowed in the river.

CLICK HERE to track the rising James River level in Richmond.

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