Two women escaped serious injury over the weekend when the inflatable raft on which they were riding near the dam at Rock Island State Park overturned and threw them out. The women were stranded for approximately an hour before being rescued.
Warren County E-911 director Chuck Haston said the center received a transfer call from Van Buren County at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 6.
“Typically, from that area the call could go to White, Van Buren or Warren depending on which cell tower it hit,” said Haston.
Campaign/ Rock Island Fire Department chief Benny Cannon said the women went down falls or rapids and needed to be rescued.
“When they went over the falls, they were thrown out of the raft. Somebody with them had called 911 and didn’t know if they had drowned or what. The women were spotted by a park ranger,” said Cannon.
Haston said the two women were stuck on the bank on the Warren County side of the Blue Hole. He said the women were sitting up but could not find their way back up the bank.
Cannon said, “Our call came in at 8:23 p.m. It was about an hour before we got to them. We were told they were by the old mill, then on the White County side of the Blue Hole, then finally that they were on the Warren County side of the Blue Hole. It took another hour to get them out once we knew where they were. When it’s dark, it’s a little trickier getting out of there than when it’s daylight.”
Cannon said the women were not wearing shoes making it hard to maneuver the steep bank. Makeshift shoes were made for one of the women while a ranger provided shoes for the second woman.
Haston said neither of the women were injured and neither were transferred to a hospital.
Cannon said, “Down there, how they got cellphone reception, I don’t know because I can’t even get cellphone reception down there.”
Responding to the call were Warren County EMS, Campaign/ Rock Island Fire department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and Rock Island rangers.