TOWN OF WHITESTOWN — Four kayakers were pulled from the Kickapoo River during a swiftwater rescue Sunday, Aug. 11, near Rockton.
Overnight rains north of Ontario caused the Kickapoo River to rise rapidly, creating unsafe river conditions, according to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.
Vikki L. Hanson, 49, Karen M. Beard, 53, Lori J. Brabek, 51, and Mindy L. Thompson, 49, all of Rockford, Ill., were in kayaks when at about 12:20 p.m. when Hanson placed a 911 call to the Vernon County Dispatch Center reporting she and had her three friends’ kayaks had capsized and were stuck in a log jam between Landing 10 and Bridge 11.
Kickapoo Valley Reserve Police located the stranded kayakers but were unable to safely reach them because of rugged terrain.
Members of the La Farge Fire Department began swiftwater rescue efforts by canoeing downstream from Landing 10 and hoisted the stranded kayakers to safety. The four people were treated and released at the scene.
Vernon County Sheriff John Spears say that even though recent rains did not cause the Kickapoo River to flood, the faster current makes the river dangerous to navigate. Spears encourages people to stay off the Kickapoo River when the river rises and the current is moving quickly.
Spears also urges people to contact the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Wildcat Mountain State Park and local canoe outfitters for current river conditions.