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Woman rescued from South Yuba River

Two helicopters and multiple fire crews were called out to pluck a woman from a rock in the middle of the South Yuba River in an expensive rescue that — according to Washington Fire Chief Mike Stewart — could have been avoided if she had simply waded to shore.

A group of four people were illegally camping outside the town of Washington at the end of Maybert Road, after having driven into rugged terrain in a two-wheel drive truck, Stewart said. The woman then got separated from the group Monday after she left with a metal detector.

“She went to go find gold,” Stewart said. “She ended up on a rock in the middle of the river.”

Her husband eventually located her, but he was on the wrong side of the river, on top of a cliff. He was able to toss her a pair of waders, a life jacket and an air mattress, but the woman opted to spend the night on the rock, Stewart said.

On Tuesday morning, the husband was unable to get the truck out so he walked to get help, with the 911 call for service received just before 10 a.m.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter was used to determine the woman’s location and fire crews hiked in to assess the situation.

“She should have been able to wade out,” Stewart said, noting there was very little current in that section of the river.

In the end, a second CHP helicopter that had been practicing hoist rescues was called in to retrieve her from the rock.

“A rope rescue would have been more difficult,” Stewart explained.

The woman was transported to a local hospital, possibly suffering from mild hypothermia, he said.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lizk@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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