A float trip down the Leaf River Sunday, June 7, didn’t end well for eleven people.
Jones Co, MS - Sunday night, Jones County Emergency Operation Center received a 911 call reporting that two people and one child were stuck on the Leaf River near the Highway 590 bridge. At 8:42 p.m., emergency medical responders and rescue units from Boggy, South Jones, and Southwest Jones Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched to the Highway 590 bridge.
Jones County Sheriff’s Department was also dispatched to the location, along with Jones County EOC Deputy Director Rodney Parker. Unable to locate the individuals in a timely fashion, at 9:48 p.m., Deputy Jack Armstrong requested the Jones County Search and Rescue Team be dispatched. SAR Team Coordinator Lee Garick assumed incident command, and approximately 50 volunteer Search and Rescue Team members reported.
Boggy VFD rescue personnel had obtained a boat and were searching the river. Shortly after 10 p.m., the three individuals were found on a sandbar downstream of the bridge. However, they reported having gotten separated from a group, and that at least eight other people were missing. They also said that at one time during the day, there were at least 25 people floating the river on inner tubes and air mattresses. The individuals had been on the river since approximately 8:30 a.m., Sunday morning. It was eventually determined that the eleven people were the only ones remaining on the river.
After a total of three hours searching the river all eleven people were found. Two people were transported to South Central Regional Medical Center by EMServ Ambulance Service with what was believed to be minor and non-life threatening injuries.
“They were all exhausted,” said Garick, “having been on the river all day on nothing but inner tubes and air mattresses, many of which had deflated. But, we found them all.”
Story by Linda Cranford, Jones County Search and Rescue PIO