Water safety: 'The river's going to make you go where it wants to'

Water safety: 'The river's going to make you go where it wants to'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The water may look inviting on a warm summer day, but rescue crews say they're concerned by those that don't know the river well, and hop in anyway.

"We're concered with people getting out on the water, being prepared, and getting themselves into trouble," said Mark Walker with Eugene and Springfield Fire.

Inexperience on the water can lead to trouble, and so can the temperature of the river. It may look hot outside, but the water is still very cold from a late snowpack.

Just last week, water rescuers hit the boars to save a stranded rafter. The force of the current pinned him underneath the I-5 bridge construction site, and fighting against the frigid water wore him out.

The spot where the river pinned the rafter -- under the I-5 bridge -- is now closed and will be until the end of October. Rescue workers said that area is extremely dangerous, and the Oregon Marine Board closed it off.

"It's just a misunderstanding of the power of the river," said Ty Cain, an engineer with the Eugene Fire Department. Cain said he was driving the boat that rescued the rafter last week.

Rescuers say life jackets are a must, limiting alcohol is wise, and respecting th river will keep you safe.

"The river's going to make you go where it wants to, unless you do something to correct that," said Cain.