Man Refuses Missoula River Rescue, Thinks Again When Camp Floods
For the second time this week, local emergency teams have had to rescue someone stranded by fast, cold water on the Clark Fork River. And although the circumstances of the two incidents were different, both point to the hazards posed by the river, which has risen dramatically with this week's hot weather.
Missoula Fire Department river rescue teams were called out Wednesday evening for the report of a person who had been camping on one of the small islands near the Russell Street Bridge and was afraid of being swept away by the fast-moving water.
Missoula Fire teams train every year to handle such emergencies
Even so, every time rescuers have to hit the river there's always a risk of something going wrong. In this case, several teams were deployed, including rescue swimmers and equipment.
However, when they reached the island, the camper refused to be taken off the island. And they also refused relocation efforts from the MFD Mobile Support Team, which offered to take them to get them a hotel room for temporary lodging, even a life vest and mental health services.
Thursday morning, MFD returned to the scene, where the individual's camp had been completely flooded. This time, they were brought to shore, checked out, and released on their own recognizance.
MFD says the incident shows the hazards along the Clark Fork right now, and although temperatures are moderating and there's more rain in the forecast, the river is already close to 9 feet, which is above the 7.5-foot flood stage. It's expected to remain close to that level into next week.
Wednesday, Missoula Rural Fire and other departments had to rescue another man who had become stranded by the high water on Kelly Island. In that case, the man had been attempting to swim in the river.