Teen Boys Rescued From Falls Park, SFFR Warns of Low Head Dam Dangers
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (From SFFR) : At 6:52 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2018, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue was dispatched to the Big Sioux River at Falls Park for a water rescue.
It was reported that a group of teenage boys swam out to a rock island in the river and were unable to return to shore due to the strong current.
The Sioux Falls Police Department arrived on scene and located the boys.
Sioux Falls PD advised the boys to stay in place on the island until Sioux Falls Fire Rescue arrived on scene with more equipment. Crews from two Sioux Falls Fire Rescue stations arrived on scene with water rescue equipment and boats.
The water rescue crews inflated and utilized a rapid deployment craft (RDC). Two Sioux Falls Fire Rescue personnel rowed the RDC to the island and equipped each of the seven boys with a personal flotation device. The stranded teenagers were returned safely to the shore in two groups.
After speaking with Sioux Falls PD, the teenagers were released to their parents and chaperones. The group was visiting from out of state and was not aware that swimming was prohibited in the Big Sioux River at Falls Park.
The area in which the boys were swimming is only 20-30 yards above a low head dam in the river. These low head dams are often referred to as drowning machines due to the large hydraulic force and recirculating currents generated immediately downstream from the face of the dam. They are extremely dangerous.
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and Sioux Falls Police Department would like to remind residents and visitors to the City of Sioux Falls that swimming is prohibited in the Big Sioux River at Falls Park.
For more information from Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, visit www.siouxfalls.org/fire or follow us on facebook.com/siouxfallsfire or twitter.com/siouxfallsfire.