COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A routine adventure on the Chattahoochee River took a turn for the worse last week. Thankfully, the Whitewater Express crew was in the right place at the right time.
Whitewater Express brings hundreds of people down the rapids every single day. The trained guides are expected to give adventure seekers a thrill while also keeping them safe. What these guides don’t expect, is to save the life of someone who was never in their boat to begin with.
A routine summer Wednesday took a turn when Whitewater Express Raft Guide, Jackson Nagy, saw the sign you never want to get in the water, ‘Double X’.
“He threw up the Double X. The Double X is what we refer to as like there’s an emergency going on.”Jackson Nagy – Columbus Native, Whitewater Express Raft Guide
Nagy’s original thought was a Whitewater Express client — but it wasn’t. A 7-year-old boy fell into the rapids just moments before Nagy and his boat were heading down. As the family yelled from the island and pointed into the rapids, Nagy saw the reason for the Double X.
“And unfortunately, we saw a tiny little head floating in the water.”Jackson Nagy – Columbus Native, Whitewater Express Raft Guide
In a matter of seconds, rafters in Nagy’s boat put their fun aside and began paddling as fast as they could to reach the boy. Nagy was able to spot the boy under the water and pull him into the boat.
“You know, I definitely at first thought the kid might not make it.”Jackson Nagy – Columbus Native, Whitewater Express Raft Guide
Emergency Services were called, but it was ultimately the Whitewater Express Guides taking action and performing life-saving measures that saved the boy’s life.
“On a summer day, we’ll often have 100 to 150 guides on the river. So it makes it a safer place. We can’t be everywhere. So it’s really important that parents watch their children, that’s a very important thing. Stay close to your children when you’re close to the river.”Dan Gilbert – Owner of Whitewater Express
With the Columbus Water Rapids sitting in a populated area on both sides of the river, these guides face additional challenges. In Nagy’s second season on the rapids, he says he never expected something of this magnitude. He accredited the successful rescue to the team of raft guides out on the water.
This is the second lifesaving rescue that Whitewater Express guides made just this week. Owner Dan Gilbert says he is proud of his team and the outcomes of both rescues but is also reminding the community that these guides can’t be everywhere all the time.