Members of Rhea County rescue squad speak out after Sunday rescu - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Members of Rhea County rescue squad speak out after Sunday rescue

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RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Piney River's water level is more than two feet lower than it was Sunday, but you can still see the swift moving current 24 hours after two teenagers attempted to tube down the river.

"In fact these guys were doing it at flood stage, no life jackets, no helmets, nothing as far as any type of safety equipment," says squad captain Doug Reed.

It wasn't long before the teens were in trouble. One was able to make it to shore and called for help. The other was left stranded, clinging to tree limbs to keep from being swept down river.

The all volunteer Swift Water Rescue Squad was on scene minutes later.

"Every time you get called out to a situation you're pretty much putting your life in danger and on the line," says Spring City Police Sgt. Travis McGhee.

Six squad members wedged themselves together before they made their way to the stranded teen.

"It was hard for us all to stand up," McGhee recalls.

Using a paddle for support, rescuers struggled to reach the middle of the river.

"I don't think he really had an understanding of what his situation was," says Reed. 

Squad members wedged the teenager in the middle of the group and began the dangerous trek back.

"On the way back I don't think it turned out exactly the way it needed to be because the water was so swift," McGhee says.

One squad member was nearly swept down river and McGhee lost his footing. In that second McGhee says he had one thought, "just to get to the bank."

Another group of rescuers were ready just down stream incase the rushing water carried someone away.

Thankfully everyone made it to shore safely but Reed has one thing to say to anyone who's not a professional and thinks taking on the Piney River is a good idea.

"You have no business out there in flood conditions," Reed says.

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