Crews pull man from Mississippi River after he falls off barge

Local News

A water rescue happened late Sunday afternoon after a man fell off a barge near the Grain Processing Center at 1600 Oregon Street, Muscatine.

Around 3:22 p.m., the Muscatine County Joint Communications Center (MUSCOM) was notified that an individual had fallen off a barge and was unable to climb out of the river.

Muscatine Fire Department launched a rescue boat with two firefighters from the new boat launch on the upriver side of Riverside Park while other on-duty personnel went to the levee at the Grain Processing Center facility to assist, a news release says.

Rescuers were able to reach the individual, pull him into the boat and then transport him back to shore.

The man had reportedly been in 42-degree weather for approximately 21 minutes.

Once back on shore near the Grain Processing Center facility, the individual was assisted by firefighters up and over the levee to the ambulance before being transported to Trinity Muscatine for treatment.

Battalion Chief Ted Hillard indicated training in these types of rescues proved to be valuable.

“This was one of those low-frequency but high-risk events that we train for,” said Hillard. “There was a lot of wind, which made the effort difficult, but our personnel did a great job.”

According to a news release, Muscatine County Search & Rescue also responded to the call and had two boats in the water, which were recalled after Muscatine Fire had the victim back on shore.

The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department and the Muscatine County Police Department also provided assistance during the rescue.

This was the second major call on-duty staff responded to Sunday — the first one involving a fire at the Muscatine Tower Apartments.

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