By Mindy Lucas
Two water rescues within four days of each other have kept area first responders busy recently.
The first water rescue involved a 30-year-old woman who was rescued from the Beaufort River after she was swept away from a dock around 6 p.m. July 31, said Battalion Chief Ross Vezin with the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department.
It was first thought the woman had jumped from the Woods Memorial Bridge after a 911 caller reported a person had jumped from the bridge.
However, officers arriving on the scene at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park later learned the woman had decided to go for a swim from the city’s day dock.
According to the officers, she was then “carried away by the current,” said Patrick Schmucker, a spokesman for the Beaufort Police Department.
An officer with the fire department spotted the woman drifting towards the Old Point neighborhood. The woman tried to cling to the piling beneath the bridge but the current was too much for her, Vezin said.
“She couldn’t hold on and that’s when he saw her go under several times,” he said.
Firefighters were eventually able to rescue the woman after throwing water rope rescue bags from a dock off Port Republic Street in Old Point, then jumping into the water to get to the woman as she passed by.
The woman was given medical care by EMS and taken to the hospital. It was not known what her condition was as of Monday night.
The City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department, the Lady’s Island/St. Helena Fire Department, Beaufort Water Search & Rescue, Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department, City of Beaufort Police Department, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and Beaufort County EMS responded to the incident.
The second rescue, on Sunday, involved a 29-year-old man who became stranded on a sandbar off Hunting Island after the tide came in.
Firefighters from the Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire Department responded to the emergency around 9:15 a.m. after the man called 911, said Scott Harris a spokesman with the fire department.
A Fripp Island firefighter was able to reach the man with the use of a jet ski and return him safely to shore, Harris said.
The man told first responders he was taking photos of birds on the sandbar when the tide came in behind him and cut him off from the island, Harris said.
No one was injured in the incident.