UPDATE: Two kayakers rescued from Little River Canyon early Saturday morning
UPDATE: It took more than 12 hours. But early Saturday morning, crews rescued two kayakers from the Little River Canyon near Fort Payne.
DeKalb County Emergency Management Director Anthony Clifton said two men (ages 29 & 30) from Birmingham were kayaking on Friday when they got stranded. He said one was on a rock and the other was on the bank. Multiple agencies – local fire departments, rescue squads, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, DeKalb County EMA – assisted in the effort which started around 4: 00 p.m. Christmas day. Eventually, they rescued the two men using ropes around 4:30 Saturday morning. One was transported to a hospital for evaluation. The other is fine.
As of Saturday morning, the Alabama River flow page listed the Little River Canyon as running at 11,700 cubic feet per second, the majority of the runs (sections) of the river were classified as high.
ORIGINAL POST: DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – Emergency crews in DeKalb County spent hours Friday night trying to rescue a kayaker.
The Little River Canyon near Fort Payne is where the rescue was effort was taking place.
At last check around midnight, crews were still on the scene and had not been able to get the boater to safety.
A DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency spokesperson told us that the paddler was perched on a rock in the middle of the river.
The spokesperson also said crews considered bringing in a helicopter to assist. But, they weren’t able to do that due to the weather.
Dangerous Water Levels
High water and swift flow is what many kayakers crave. However, the amount of rain we had on Friday is making the popular whitewater rivers in Alabama potentially dangerous. Accomplished paddlers who are members of the Huntsville Canoe Club Facebook group, were urging caution and discouraging new or inexperienced paddlers from getting out on the rivers and creeks this weekend.
One veteran kayaker implored fellow paddlers to think twice before putting “yourself, your paddling buddies, and possibly rescue personnel at risk.”