Inflatable chair collapses, man rescued in latest waterway save


Add several more unlucky people to the growing list of rescues in recent days from the state’s swollen waterways.

On Sunday, first responders plucked seven people from the Root River in Fillmore County after the group of tubers ran into swift currents.

WCCO reports Chatfield firefighters pulled three adults and four children, ages 7 to 10, out of the water. None were wearing life jackets. Officials say at least one tube had gotten caught up in a tree.

And in Stearns County, authorities responded to calls at around 1:30 p.m. Monday about a 21-year old kayaker who was hanging onto a downed tree in the Mississippi River. Crews were able to pull Anita Henningsgaard to safety, WCCO reports. Henningsgaard reported no injuries.

A man who found himself stranded in the Zumbro River in Rochester after his inflatable chair collapsed is also among the latest to be rescued from Minnesota's rain-swollen waterways, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

Police say they got a call about the man in the water on Saturday afternoon, and they arrived to find him clinging to a post supporting the South Broadway bridge.

Rescuers in a boat attempted to reach the man, identified as Jason Davidson, 29, of Louisiana, but the attempt was hampered by low water, ABC 6 News in Rochester reports. As they repositioned, the man tried to walk out into the water toward shore, but was swept under by the current and was briefly submerged. Rescuers then were able to pluck him out the water and into the boat, the station reports.

The man had gone over the dam on his flotation device and was lucky to escape a backwash area, rescuers said.

Meanwhile Saturday, a 14-year-old was swept away by a fast-moving creek in Chaska, KARE 11 reports. The teen was with friends who tried to cross the waterway. He was able to grab a tree branch hanging in the water and clung to it until rescuers reached him, KARE reports.

"We have never seen the water running at a pace like this," Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl told the station.

Minnesota emergency response crews have been busy in the last week pulling people from flooded creeks, rivers and roads.

Among the most dramatic saves was that of a 21-year-old driver who climbed out of her flooded car and into the arms of a daring trooper just moments before the floodwaters washed her vehicle away.

In another save last week, the University of Minnesota's women's rowing team came to the rescue of a woman who was stranded in rushing waist-high water in a patch of trees along the shore of the Mississippi River. Coach Wendy Davis was able to maneuver a motorized assist boat to the woman, and team members helped get her in the vessel.

And in yet another rescue, emergency crews were able to save a 53-year-old New Jersey kayaker who had tumbled into the rain-swollen Pine River in central Minnesota. She had been pinned against some trees by the current, and the Army Corps of Engineers shut down a dam to lower water levels to aid in the rescue.

There were at least three rescues in Rock County as rains drenched southwest Minnesota last week - including two rescues of the same farmer, the Star Tribune reported.

Animals have also been among the rescued, including two deer saved by a North Redwood teenager in southern Minnesota.

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