NH Firefighters rescue kayakers stranded near Merrimack River falls in Hooksett
HOOKSETT- A group of kayakers found themselves in trouble on the Merrimack River Wednesday night and had to be rescued by firefighters.
Hooksett Fire Department chief James Burkush said the department got a call for help after dark from a group of boaters near a string of bouys stretching across the water in a wide portion of the river upstream of the Eversource dam on Merrimack Street.
"Just after 7:30 we received a 911 from a kayaker in a river. They were pinned up against the dam protection system of buoys and were unable to make their way to shore," Burkush said.
"One person stuck was the operator of the rental company," said Burkush. "Once we pulled him to a safe location he paddled back up."
Edgewater Canoe Rental is located upstream at 35 Edgewater Road. A call to Edgewater Thursday morning went unanswered.
The water, said Burkush, is "deceiving. What happens if you go over a low-head dam you could get trapped under water. It holds you down and you drown."
Burkush said when rescuers first arrived a 17-year old boy was in the water and hanging from the cable. Two others were in a swamped tandem kayak. Rescuers focused on the three in immediate danger first while a larger boat was called in from the Manchester Fire Department.
"We see it all the time. Experienced kayakers know what they are doing. These were no experienced people. Water is unpredictable. We urge caution if you don't know what you're doing," said Burkush.
"Hooksett fire came in and deployed a boat. There was one victim in the water and there were 4 other victims holding on. Hooksett was able to remove three of the five victims. The other two victims were removed from the Manchester Fire boat.
Medical first responders at the scene evaluated the boaters and none were taken to the hospital.
Burkush said Wednesday night, "there's been no injuries. All the firefighters are safe and the victims are all safe."