Construction workers rescued from Cass River - WNEM TV 5

Construction workers rescued from Cass River

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Source: Frankenmuth Police Department Source: Frankenmuth Police Department
FRANKENMUTH, MI (WNEM) -

Two construction workers helping with a bridge project were rescued from the Cass River after authorities said the flotation device they were standing on began taking on water. 

First responders were called at 9:37 a.m. Tuesday to the area near Main Street and Flint Street and near the new fish ladder in Frankenmuth for reports of a boat that had capsized and stranded two people in the river.

Investigators said the boat's motor failed and the current pushed it down stream over rock rapids. That's when the boat had taken on water and overturned in the middle of the river. The two men in the boat couldn't swim to shore because the current was too strong, officials said. 

The men stood in the middle of the river on the ground because it was shallow enough and waited for rescue, Frankenmuth Fire Chief Phil Kerns said.

Frankenmuth firefighters prepared to enter the water by putting ice suits on, but attempts to reach the boaters were unsuccessful due to the current. 

"Because of the current, with the rains we've had lately the water level is up. We had a little bit of difficulty getting out to them in the center of the river," Kerns said.

Firefighters then entered the river downstream and told the boaters to release the boat, allowing them to float down to where the first responders could catch them and pull them ashore.

"In this case they were able to walk up the hill and into the ambulances," Kerns said.

Both boaters were taken to Saginaw area hospitals and treated for symptoms of hypothermia.

Officials said they were in the water for at least 30 minutes.

A spokesperson for MDOT said the men were contractors assisting in the M-83 Bridge Project.

The Saginaw County Dive Team was called to the scene, but firefighters rescued the men before they arrived. 

"Kind of crazy considering you know, it's in real life and not watching it on TV or something," said Heath Johnson, witness.

Johnson could only watch as the two men were stuck in the river clinging to their boat.

"Kind of scary a little bit," Johnson said.

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