COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Chattahoochee River in the Fountain City is a draw for tourism every summer. Following the Labor Day Weekend holiday there have been zero fatalities on the Chattahoochee River to date for 2023.
The Chattahoochee River is a serene view, but what you can’t see on the surface is the powerful current beneath the water.
“They don’t understand how treacherous the Chattahoochee River is. You can easily get a little too far out there and you do not know what’s going on underneath the surface.”John Shull – Columbus Fire and EMS, Division Chief
The manmade whitewater rapids are crafted to create a powerful, heavy rush of water. They say the majority of rescues come from people not paying attention to the rising water sirens.
“People go out on the rocks their fishing their having a good time then one of the dams opens up.”John Shull – Columbus Fire and EMS, Division Chief
On average, the water rescue team is called out to the river roughly two to three times a month. And this year, not one has ended in a fatality. With the success they’ve seen this summer, the water rescue team is still ramping up their training.
“Whether we have a fatality or not, we’re going to continue to prepare for the worst.”John Shull – Columbus Fire and EMS, Division Chief
Anyone on or in the river is required by law to wear a life vest.
“I mean, look at this. This is absolutely beautiful day. So we want you to enjoy it. We just want you to be safe. If you’re in the river by law, by by city ordinance, you must have a life vest on.”John Shull – Columbus Fire and EMS, Division Chief
Something that can be the difference between life and death.
“Especially if you have kids around. Don’t let them get too close. Don’t take your eye off them. We see every year, with the exception of this year so far. Every year we see we see fatalities in the Chattahoochee River.”John Shull – Columbus Fire and EMS, Division Chief
They credit the success to the increased signage and educating both children and adults.