Firefighters, troopers rescue kayaker from tree along Haw River

From staff reportsJuly 5, 2013 

— Firefighters aided by a State Highway Patrol helicopter Friday morning rescued a kayaker who had become stuck in a tree along the rain-swollen Haw River near U.S. 64 in Chatham County, officials said.

The incident began late Thursday night, firefighters said, but a diver being lowered from a Highway Patrol helicopter about 3 a.m. had to abandon a rescue effort because fog reduced visibility below safe levels, they said.

The kayaker, a man, was plucked from the tree about 7 a.m. Friday.

He was not believed to be injured, but details of his condition and of how he got into the tree were not immediately available.

Firefighters from Pittsboro, North Chatham and Apex were involved in the rescue, the Chatham County communications center said.

The Haw is popular with paddlers, and the river has been running high because of all the recent rain.

A U.S. Geological Survey gauge on the river near Bynum, upstream from where the kayaker was rescued, showed the Haw flowing at 4,130 cubit feet per second Friday morning compared with a 35-year average flow for July 5 of 694 cubic feet per second.

Data showed the river depth had been at its 11-foot flood stage at Bynum on Wednesday night, was flowing fast enough to have fallen to 8 feet Thursday night and was down to 6.2 feet Friday morning.

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