HICKORY, N.C. — Two women and three children are safe after they were rescued on a river in Hickory late Sunday night, state troopers said.
Authorities responded to the Henry Fork River at the Highway 321 overpass around 9 p.m.
Troopers said a mother, another woman and three children -- ages 9, 11 and 13 -- were tubing along the river when they got trapped.
One woman was able to climb to safety and call for help from a nearby Bojangles.
Channel 9′s Dave Faherty was at the scene when crews got two of the children to safety. He said firefighters used a ladder truck to lower rescuers 60 feet down to the river to pull the others up.
On Monday, officials told Channel reporter DaShawn Brown that the rescue didn’t wrap up until almost 1 a.m., lasting nearly four hours.
Hickory rescuers said this was one of their most intricate rescues to date. One by one, crews had to pull a woman and three children to safety after their tubing trip on the Henry Fork River went awry.
“Where they ended up getting stuck at, they were up against about a 20-foot ledge on each side of the river that they were not able to climb up and get out on their own,” said Thomas Raper with the Hickory Fire Department. “Using the ladder truck, we lowered them (rescuers) over the side of the bridge down to the river below, approximately a couple hundred feet down.”
Then, each of the remaining four in the tube were secured with a harness and pulled up onto the bridge.
“Everything went like clockwork,” Raper said. “It went smoothly. It went pretty much textbook perfect and all the guys did an excellent job.”
Fire officials said the woman and children were all checked for injuries and were OK, other than being a little scared, shaken up and cold.
Raper said the specialized team they used for the rescue has only been in place for a year, but Sunday night was the perfect situation to have everyone in place and able to perform the rescue.
>> BELOW, WATCH VIDEO OF THE RESCUE
Cox Media Group