Stranded boater rescued after texting 911

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mo. — Flooding along the Meramec River caused a boater to capsize under a bridge near Sullivan Sunday morning.

Brad England, the director of emergency services for Crawford County, said about five or six people along the river call 911 each week during the summer. He said the recent cry for help on the river came from a text message.

“He tried to call, the call didn’t go through. He was in a river valley, so he texted 911 and we got it,” England said.

“Help” and “Sappington Bridge” are all the first texts said, but it was enough for dispatchers to send first responders on their way.

“They found him under a bridge on the poles clinging to some logs and they saved his life,” England said. “Not every county has text to 911. There are a few counties that have it. 35 counties have it, 24 counties are pending, and I think 55 counties don’t have it yet, only two or three counties have had it.”

He said they text an average of 911 per month. Even if the service isn’t used often, he wants his employees to be prepared for emergencies.

“They train and we train as a team for this type of scenario. Then when it happened, they were able to mobilize quickly,” England said. “I understood what happened and that is an important factor in rescuing someone who is stuck in the freezing water of a flooded river.” Stranded boater rescued after texting 911

Sarah Y. Kim

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