Two adults and nine youngsters ranging in age from 12 to 16 years were rescued Sunday night (May 14) after they experienced leaks in several inner tubes and became stranded along Big Escambia Creek.
Sheriff’s reports show the inner-tube passengers, led by a kayak, had lunch at Grissett Bridge and were riding the creek’s currents on the way to Magnolia Branch.
The mini-flotilla launched around 11 a.m. and the floaters were enjoying themselves on the water until shortly after 1 p.m., when several of the inner tubes were snagged and began to develop holes.
The kayaker reportedly went ahead to the landing, arriving there around 8 p.m., but those on the leaking inner tubes became lost and were eventually stranded along the creek bank on property owned by a private hunting club.
They called 911, and dispatchers notified ECSO, which in turn notified Poarch Fire Department. PFD personnel were in route as the sheriff’s office’s shallow dive boat came up the creek to try and make contact with the missing floaters. ECSO officers contacted the owner of the land that parallels the creek in that area, and all the missing individuals were found, cold and hungry but otherwise in good shape, around 9:30 p.m.
The landowner brought them out and took them back to Grissett Bridge, where their vehicle was parked and other family members awaited. None of the group required medical attention.
Chief Deputy Mike Lambert reminded people that while floating trips are a popular means of fun and will remain so throughout the summer, those who participate in such activity should make sure to have a route planned. Any such group or individual should know about how long the trip will take and have an emergency plan, just in case the need should arise.