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Boat Adrift with Wife Aboard Leaves Husband Ashore, Goes 1 Mile Downriver

Fridley Fire Dept. boat was called then cancelled; Brooklyn Park crew executed rescue.

A boat with engine trouble and a woman aboard drifted a mile down the Mississippi River Tuesday afternoon before rescuers reached it and brought boat and boater safely back to shore.

The misadventure started about 3:30 p.m., according to Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Ken Prillaman, as the woman and her husband launched the boat from River Park in Brooklyn Park (opposite Glen Creek and in Fridley).

The husband unhooked the boat and the engine started but the wife was unable to get it into gear, Prillaman said. The man swam after the boat but couldn't catch it in the swift current. The woman dialled 911 from the boat, which put rescue crews from both sides of the river into action.

The Fridley Fire Department got the call to assist with its rescue boat, but the call was cancelled before the boat got to the river, Fire Chief John Berg said.  (Fridley's boat has been out once or twice so far this year; a typical year might see it used about three times.)

The Brooklyn Park rescue crew got to the drifting boat about 20–30 minutes later, Prillaman said—about the same time as a homeowner who helped out in third boat.

The drifting boat had traveled about a mile downriver, he said. It took another 20–30 minutes to return the woman and her runaway watercraft to River Park. No one was hurt in the incident.

Prillaman's department regularly calls on their counterparts in Fridley or Coon Rapids for help with water rescues, depending on where on the river an incident occurs. That way crews working from both sides of the river are available in case the current redirects the rescue effort's target.

Fire departments occasionally cross the river to help with fires on land too, Berg said. A recent example was a automatically with a third alarm.

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