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Suwannee County deputies, FWC rescue 76-year-old man from river

Posted at 11:58 AM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 11:58:38-05

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — A 76-year-old man is recovering after being rescued from the Suwannee River on Monday.

Monday evening, around 8:15 PM, the Suwannee County Sheriff's office says two deputies were approached by an older man at the Florida Agricultural Inspection Station in Branford.

The man said he and his 76-year-old friend were at the boat ramp at Ivey Memorial Park working on a pontoon boat, when the boat was swept away by the current. The man said his friend, who can't swim, was hanging onto the boat by a rope as they floated down the Suwannee River.

The pair of deputies immediately went to the boat ramp and noticed that the boat was already a couple of thousand feet downstream from the boat ramp. After running down the riverbank, they caught up to the boat and spoke to the 76-year-old man, reassuring him that help was on the way.

A citizen on the Lafayette County side of the river helped deputies and got on his boat. Deputies say the citizen was able to catch up to and tie off to 76-year-old man's boat. The man said he tried attempted to pull the 76-year-old into his boat, but he was wrapped up in the line he was hanging onto.

Fortunately, Florida Wildlife Commission arrived on the scene with their boats along with crews from Suwannee County Fire Rescue. Together, they were able to get the man out of the water and render first aid.

The 76-year-old was transported to an area hospital due to environmental exposure.