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After Amite River rescue, fire chief says frequent tubing mishaps becoming a problem

2 months 4 days 13 hours ago Monday, July 19 2021 Jul 19, 2021 July 19, 2021 6:51 PM July 19, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

DENHAM SPRINGS - First responders say that more than a dozen tubers who were rescued from the Amite River over the weekend never should have been in the water in the first place.

While his crew wasn't involved this weekend, District Five Fire Chief Joe Koczrowski said it's far from the first time firefighters have had to pull tubers from the river this summer. He explained most of the calls involved customers of Tiki Tubing in Denham Springs.

"It's been a very eventful year up there already. We've had a lot of people that have lost their tubes, fell off their tubes, tubes that got cut open by tree limbs..." Koczrowski said. "It's been every weekend since he opened. So it's probably been a dozen rescue calls, emergency calls in the river since he opened this year."

Koczrowski said the company should have known better than to stay open this weekend. The group rescued Saturday was caught up in rapidly rising water caused by heavy rain in the area.

"They should've been aware of what was coming," he said. "They get seven or eight inches of rain in the basin up north of us... It comes down like a tidal wave, and the river drastically rises a foot or two feet in a couple hours."

The fire chief said the frequent rescues are causing the department to burn through its resources.

"It's put a drain on my budget to put people in there," Koczrowski said.

Tiki Tubing has been closed since the incident Saturday. Posts on the business's Facebook page cite high water as the reason for the closure. 

It will be up to the parish government to determine if any action will be taken against the company. 

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