Jet Skis to the Rescue
A combination of shallow water and larger boats can mean trouble while on the Missouri River. Cooper County Fire Chief Larry Oerly said Jet Skis are a tool to prevent drowning, but he didn't have them years ago.
"I would have liked to have had a watercraft available to us to have an effective rescue. While we did attempt to rescue, these could have added the speed we needed to make the difference," Oerly said.
Cooper County has been a part of the National Jet Ski Loan Program for five years. Now, the district is upgrading its current craft, and rescuers will have two new ways to assist in the rescue of boaters and swimmers.
"Right here, behind these trees, if we had to search in here for a drowning victim or maybe somebody fell of their boat or something and they're struggling to get to shore, a Jet Ski can zip right in there, pick them up where a bigger boat couldn't get behind the trees," Larry Pierce of the Cooper County Fire Protection District said.
"Station Number Two is located just up the road from the main entrance to the Lamine River, making it easy for the Jet Skis to make it down to the water if a rescue is needed," Pierce said.
Right now, three people are trained to use the Jet Skis in a rescue.
"You have to be able to handle these. We have a training program where you must be able to turn one upside down, turn it back up and get back on it," Pierce said.
Pierce plans to train about four more people in the near future.