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Teen rescued from Stilly River
ARLINGTON A 15-year-old male was rescued from the Stillaguamish River Saturday, with help from a friend and Paul Erickson, who was there enjoying the sun in his yellow floatie.
Arlington Fire Department Chief Jim Rankin confirmed that the department did go on a call to the river at 5 p.m. to help rescue a victim who was already out of the water and breathing, albeit on the other side of the river.
We escorted him across the river to Haller Park using the Arlington Heights Fire District No. 21s hovercraft, Rankin said. He ended up on the other side of the river where his rescuers pulled him out of the water. As for his current status, we know nothing after delivering him to the emergency room.
Erickson shared the story with The Arlington Times after writing about it to his mother.
I was sunning on the sand bar between the north and south forks of the river, Erickson said.
He had just launched his raft about 50 yards above the convergence of the two forks when he heard calls for help vaguely in the distance. He saw a group of four boys crossing the south fork toward the sand bar.
After confirming that he heard a call for help, he saw one boy paddling disoriented toward one shore, than toward the other shore. He was located about 20 yards downstream from the convergence, Erikson said.
A boy named Ryan kept going under and popping up, calling for help. One of the friends was swimming toward him at the same time as Erickson. When Ryan extended his hand for help one more time, the friend was able to grab it. They dragged him to the north side of the river, onto the beach and it appeared that he was breathing.
The emergency vehicles then roared into Haller Park. They used the hovercraft to retrieve Ryan and he was sent to the emergency room at the hospital.
Erickson went back to his beach chair, a bit stunned. Later he felt glad that he was able to help, he said.
The current at the confluence of the two forks of the Stillaguamish River is a strong and unpredictable force that has taken many lives through the years. Swimmers should avoid that area, according to officials.