UPDATE: Three girls pulled from river Wednesday

Published 8:57 pm Monday, June 28, 2021

      Last Wednesday afternoon could have ended much differently than it did. Thanks to the fast response of Sheriff Terry Mears and the Dozier Volunteer Fire Department, three young girls were able to make it back home safe and sound.

     A call for help came in at approximately 6:30 p.m. requesting help for three young girls who had been swept into the river by the current. Mears was the first to arrive at the bridge located on Hwy 77 in Dozier. He was followed closely by Chase Burnett and Caleb Hammett, Dozier Volunteer Fire Department, who arrived on the scene at 6:41 p.m. 

     “When we arrived, the father was standing on the bank. The girls were clinging to pilings a little way down the river. They were very calm which surprised me,” Burnett said. 

     Burnett and Hammett made their way down the bank closer to the girls. The firemen used a rescue device called a ResQ Disc. The device resembles a frisbee with a 150 ft rope attached. The girls, who ranged in age from 9 to 13, were pulled back to shore one by one by the men. 

     “I believe the girls were playing on a shallow sandy area and one of the girls slipped and fell in,” Burnett said. “The other two girls tried to help her and they were all caught by the current and swept downstream.”

      Burnett said the river was higher than normal due to the percentage of rainfall in the area recently. 

      Burnett has been with the volunteer fire department since March of 2007. He works full-time with Wiregrass Construction. Hammett has been with the fire department since 2011. He is currently a full-time student. 

      The parents of the girls did not wish to comment on the event.