Corrales Fire Department responded to a call for a stranded person in the Rio Grande around 9:41 p.m. Wednesday.

With the help of officers from the Albuquerque Police Department’s collateral Open Space Unit, the kayaker was successfully rescued.

This is nothing new for emergency personnel as recent snow melt run-off from the mountains in Colorado and northern New Mexico has the Rio Grande running higher than it has in probably the last 15 years.

Corrales Fire Commander Tanya Lattin. Courtesy photo.

“That was the 20th rescue in Corrales and 21st in Sandoval County in the river this year,” Corrales Fire Commander Tanya Lattin said. “If you are going to go out, life vests are required. Someone needs to know where you’re getting in and where you’re getting out and when you should be home. They should have their phone in a waterproof case so you can call 911 if something happens.”

Lattin said two kayakers entered the river at the 550 bridge around 7:30 Wednesday night. The call for a stranded kayaker came a little over two hours later as they hit a fallen tree. One person was able to exit the river, but officers located a female in an orange kayak that was stuck by a fallen tree. Due to the current high water level and rapid river flow, the downed tree made the rescue more challenging.

Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office and Albuquerque Police Department assisted with the rescue on an island in the middle of the river near Siphon Beach. Collateral Open Space officers began prepping the airboat to assist.

The officers, along with Albuquerque Fire Rescue on their airboat, were able to locate the kayaker with the assistance of APD Air 2.

AFR began getting closer to the kayaker while an APD officer stayed a bit downstream in case she was swept away with the current. AFR, however, was able to safely get the kayaker to shore.

Officers then noticed another person stuck in a kayak who had attempted to assist the female and became stranded. Officers were able to position the boat close enough so they could grab the male and the kayak safely and brought them to shore.

“Right now is not the time to learn how to use a kayak or a paddleboard,” Lattin said. “It’s not the time to learn; the river is flowing too high and there is way too much debris in it.”