HOWARD — Four canoers had to be rescued from an island in the Kokosing River upstream from the Pipesville Road canoe access Sunday evening.
Chief Larry Stimpert of the East Knox County Joint Fire District said they received a call about 2:30 p.m. Sunday that the people were stranded on an island in the rain-swollen river. He said they launched their rescue boat and were able to retrieve the four canoers without incident.
Stimpert said one canoe apparently overturned and the occupants were stranded on an island. The second canoe came along and tried to assist them, he said, and they became stranded as well. The four stranded individuals ranged in age from 17 to 48.
Stimpert said the canoers were blocked by a log jam and debris that had piled up in the river after the recent heavy rains. The fire department was back on station by 4:17 p.m.
Knox County Park District Director Kim Marshall has issued a warning that the Kokosing River is not floatable just upstream of the Pipesville Road access due to the logjam. Canoers coming from Mount Vernon should exit the river at the Big Run Road access.
People can still launch at Pipesville Road and exit at the Millwood and Riley Chapel access points.
Marshall said the problem above Pipesville Road has been developing as logs jammed up at the site. However, there was still a safe portage road on the west descending bank until the recent rains and high water caused a large cottonwood tree to fall, blocking the portage route.
Even though you can launch a canoe at most locations, Marshall cautioned that the water is “so high it’s not safe.” Normal river flow is about 100 to 300 cubic feet per second, but the current flow is between 900 and 1,000 CFS. It was much higher at the end of last week.
People can check on the water flow by checking the U.S. Geologic Survey stream gauge on the Kokosing. The device’s reading can be accessed through a link on the Knox County Park District website in the section about the Kokosing Water Trail. Marshall said she did not know how long the stretch of river might remain closed. It depends on how rapidly the water level falls and when it is safe for workers with chainsaws to at least clear the portage path, which is on private property.
A 13-year-old boy was also rescued from the Kokosing River in the vicinity of Riverside Park Sunday evening by the Mount Vernon Fire Department.
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