Rock Hill swift water rescue team training this week

Rock Hill swift water rescue team training this week

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - Rock Hill firefighters are doing swift water rescue training this week along the Catawba River. This comes after another drowning on Lake Wylie.

The York County Coroner's Office identified the drowning victim has Frederick Robinson, 45, from Rock Hill.

Officials said Robinson was not wearing a life jacket when his kayak tipped over Friday night. His body was pulled from the water Saturday.

RELATED: Missing kayaker recovered from Lake Wylie identified as Rock Hill man

While there have been no drownings on the Catawba River in York County this year, there have been several water rescues.

First responders are training for emergency situations in the water all this week.

"It is so critical, it's not only important for them, so that they can help themselves if they're out her performing a rescue and find one of their teammates in distress, but also getting regular calls," said C.C. Williams a kayak trainer with the city of Rock Hill.

All three recent drownings have come on area lakes, but boaters have also had trouble on the river. The Rock Hill Fire Department has been called to at least two rescues in the past month. Monday they practiced upper level rescue techniques in faster moving water.

While the state of South Carolina requires a person to have a life jacket on the boat, experts say it is more important to wear the flotation device at all times.

"You don't know what's down there, the depth of the water, you may fall out and think you're in 20 feet of water, you may fall out of the kayak or raft and only be in four or five feet of water and hit your head on the bottom," said Trey Hovis, with the Rock Hill Fire Department.

With more people using the river, the city's fire department hopes firefighters won't have to use the training, but they'll spend the next few days making sure they're prepared to save one of the many lives that paddle down the river this summer.

"The changing water levels, ill prepared paddlers as they come out, people without a life jacket, without a whistle, without proper knowledge of the area they're traveling in, cause additional problems as well," said Williams.

The city of Rock Hill offers kayak classes. For more information, click here.

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