Successful river rescue after father and son get stuck in dam

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FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) -- Two men stranded in a fishing boat stuck hard up against a boulder in the current: that's the situation rescue crews found when they rushed Tuesday mid-morning to an area south of Lemke Park in Fargo, North Dakota.

"Well, I'm glad that that rock held us up there. That probably saved everything, so," said Justin Kill.

Justin Kill and his father say their fishing trip turned frightening after they got stuck on a rocky dam in the middle of the Red River. They were able to call for help with rescue crews saying they used a high line maneuver to get the men to safety.

"Thought it was just going to be a fun day of fishing, but it turned into this," said Justin Kill.

Kill and his father are thankful they could be pulled safely to shore by rescue crews working both sides of the Red River. When Gray affiliate KVLY arrived on scene moments after fire crews, the two men were clinging to the upstream side of their Lund fishing boat.

"The motor started not working as much as it should have right when we were going down the river or whatever the dam there and just started sucking in, and tried to start the big motor and didn't get that done in time and just sucked us right into it," Kill explained how it happened.

Fire crews launched boats both up and downstream of the stuck boat. They strung a rope across the river diagonally and tried hard to get a rescuer through the stiff current. Finally, they were able to get on board, help the men into the water and safely to shore.

"Then we organized what's called a highline rescue so that we could get across, get one of our people across and in the boat and bring them back to shore safely," said Dane Carley of the Fargo Fire Department.

With the boat in little danger of breaking loose or flipping over, fire crews said they were taking their time, weighing their rescue options and ultimately deciding trying to get another boat in close just wasn't going to work.

A silver lining in all of this: it was a rescue and not a body recovery.

"That's a lot of recoveries on this river because of the current so to do a rescue is a huge positive side," stated Carley.

Officials say people on the water need to be aware of what they're doing and how fast and strong the current is moving. Just this season, there have been a number of accidents on the Red River -- some even deadly.

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