Rescuers snare boaters trapped on river

Propeller breaks after hitting submerged log

April 21, 2008 01:48:00 AM
By Howard Yune/Appeal-Democrat

A water rescue team bailed out three boater
Chris Kaufman/Appeal-Democrat
Members of the Advanced Technical Rescue Team with the Yuba City Fire Department tow three stranded boaters upstream from Shanghai Bend on the Feather River Sunday evening.s Sunday after their boat stalled in the Feather River.
The Yuba City Fire Department responded at 6:14 p.m. to a report of a disabled fishing boat north of Shanghai Bend. Members of the Advanced Technical Rescue team spotted the craft, which passengers said struck a sunken log and sheared off part of its propeller, according to Battalion Chief John Limas.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter also arrived from Auburn to aid the search.
The boat was found in a section of river known as "the Jesus hole," a deeper part of the Feather with calmer waters than the erratic currents of the Shanghai Bend rapids to the south. Despite the gentler currents, rescuers had to work quickly to get the boaters to shore because of the late hours, said Limas.
"We were concerned about losing the daylight hours in trying to locate them and move them off the river," he said. "Darkness would have hindered our rescue, and the forecast called for it to be near freezing, and the occupants were not dressed for cold weather."
Temperatures in Marysville had bottomed out in the mid-30s early Sunday morning.
Two Yuba City rescue workers rode a personal watercraft to the crippled fishing boat, then towed it north to the Riverfront Park boat ramp in Marysville, where the boaters had begun their trip. The three — David Pollyblank, Ruth Lonely and Maureen Schmidt, all Marysville residents — were not injured.
Sunday's accident occurred close to the site of another boating mishap. On Aug. 20, a Yuba County rescue squad helped two Loma Rica men from their fishing boat after the Feather rapids' current pulled the craft aground on a stretch of rocky clay.
"These things happen," Limas said about the Feather's mix of boat-snaring debris and tricky currents. "It's unfortunate, but that's part of boating on our local rivers."
Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Howard Yune at 749-4708, 458-2121 or