Last straw (rescue) from weirs
„Well, in our village there is placed high weir, somebody is always drowning here each year. And a neighbour, living in a house nearby the weir, would be ready to draw (pull out) him, but some implement is missing. We heard that this mean would be O.K. As soon as he has to handle it, it would be usefull and could help a waterman!“ was the reply.
We can take it as a responsible access to this problem. It is more responsible as some waterman could have. This clerk of state administration was working perfectly. We should help to everybody who is ready to pay for our services. However, many of clerks of highest position are of different meaning!
Anyway, back to water and its danger. Back especially to weirs! Watermen saison beginns, not only for wild watermen on Kamenice and Jizera-rivers, but also on Lužnice, Otava,Ohře, Chrudimka or Ostravice-rivers, everywhere, where watermen can spent well their leisure time, so on rivers in general. Watermen will carry over the weirs - such as Pilař, Radošov, Tuhnice, Citice, Frýdlant, Svídnice, Kaňov, Dráchov, Mrskoš and others. However, some drive and navigate. They will be allured with inconspicuously of place, lack of experience or courage, supported from whatever reason...
So, problem arises later. Provided your friends are not ready for its solution, this problem could have bad end. In order to be prepared for it, and some chance could appear, so, would you read with interest the lines as follows: We are sure that you know the weir. If you are not convinced that this weir would be dangerous, so IT IS DANGEROUS! Provided you are not sure, we recommend you to carry over your boat. The weirs are mostly perpendicular. It does not depend on its height but on a form of weir construction and on river-flowing through. (attention – this could change many times!). Frankly speaking, when the water under the wair is disappearing quietly, makes bubble extraction, presenting an impression that water flows under the weir upstairs (and really, it flows!) it is better to omit (avoid) this weir.
However, it could not be managed always. Maybe, by chance, maybe from the other reason. And suddenly, the boat, persons, paddles, everybody, are placed in a roller below a weir! There are several possibilities of rescue. It depends on environment´s fitting out and experience as well as training. Provided somebody ill-considered jumps down below weir (even with good intention) to rescue the drawning man, so shortly become two drawning men to be rescued. It depends a lot on drawned person. He does his best to keep on water-level, hold the boat (provided it is equipped with bags), so to breath as long as possible, expect rescue and cooperate.
As to problems, regarding putting of swim-waistcoat and roller-underswimming, it is better to leave to most experienced persons only. Provided the boat had good luck (in its misfortune) and descended near to the bank, it is possible to try the rescue by means of throwing of rescue bag from the bank. It is well-known procedure - to take the attention (it could be a problem) and throw it - to hit for the first time, if possible. Anyway, it is more simple to draw the drawning person from roller near to the bank. It is difficult to fight against a stream of returning water flow. If the throw-mean is not available, so would you try to fasten any rope to whatever swimming. We tried it with ball in a nest and inflated mattress.
If there is too far distance for throw from a bank, or drawning persons are not able to react on such small subject, as a throwing rope, it is worth to try to fix a rope to a vessel - good equipped against diving. The best way would be, in this case, inflated vessel (without crew), to be sent throughout the roller to drawned persons. We take advantage of a fact that most of rollers are moving from one bank to the other, or from the centre to banks. You need some experience or wish to try it. A big swimming subject, which could be held (kept) and again through ravine to draw to the bank, is a plus. Such subject could be let swum near to drawning person also from above, anyway, you need to communicate with the person in danger. The other way may be (if a roller or extraction is not too long and under a weir there is no depth) to try to reach a drawning person from the bottom. The bank-rope-rescue man-rescue man - you are secured with a rope and do your best in order to reach in two to drawning person from bottom. The same can be done in a chain: bank-rope-vessel-rescue man-vessel. It means: security by rope from a bank and two vessels connected with „life conjunction“.
This conjunction could be present on board of vessel. Anyway, the procedure can be followed according to pictures. However, this way requires necessary training. You cannot pass roller top so, that all fall into extraction.This way requires experience and knowledge. As to further possibilities: raft is chained and rescue-team works with chaining and security from bank – again from the bottom. So, a vessel tries, with minimal risk, to reach drawning person from the bottom and draw him, or catch (seize) to rope at least and draw successively. All ways of rescue, described above, are possible. However, the rescue from extraction of dangerous weir is always to be taken as risk action for rescue teams. The experience is needed and necessary. Anyway, a precaution is to be preferred. Sometimes, also less experienced fireman, who arrives earlier with long pole and hook, could become better rescuer, as non experienced waterman with „horse line“.
Text: Vojta Jančar
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