Water task force rescues 3 kayakers from Kiski River
An Armstrong County river rescue team pulled three kayakers out of the swollen Kiski River on Saturday afternoon after they got hung up in submerged trees in Leechburg and their kayaks sank.
Joe Clark, divemaster with Armstrong County Water Rescue Task Force , said a mother and her two daughters — who were not identified — were floating down the river around 2:15 p.m. when a black Labrador retriever in one of the kayaks jumped out for a swim.
“They went after him, and that’s when they got tangled up in the trees,” Clark said.
They were caught in trees partially submerged by high water caused by recent heavy rainfall, according to rescue team members.
Clark and other members of the water rescue team were returning to the Leechburg Fire Department from safety exercises at Crooked Creek Lake when a call came in about the stranded kayakers.
“We had all of our stuff with us, all of our equipment,” he said. “We were a little farther out of town than we would have liked, but everything turned out good.”
Leechburg firefighters also responded.
Two of the kayakers were pinned to trees in the river behind The Marconi Club. The third was near Lower Kiski Ambulance Services.
The rescue team used a boat to pull them out of the water.
They were not injured, Clark said. He said the dog swam to shore and was fine.
The three kayaks sank in the river, and Clark said team members would recover them once high water recedes.
Neill Andritz, one of the rescue team members who responded, said it was fortunate that someone called 911 about the stranded kayakers. Andritz, an owner of The River’s Edge Canoe and Kayak in Leechburg, said the kayaks did not come from his shop.
“A lot of people don’t know we’re here to help, and they don’t call 911,” he said. “That’s when situations get far worse.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .