It’s been a busy summer for Fire and Rescue workers as snow melt run-off from the mountains in Colorado and northern New Mexico has the Rio Grande running higher than it has in at least the last 15 years.
Corrales Deputy Fire Chief Tanya Lattin said this has been a record-setting year in terms of people being rescued from the Rio Grande.
“I’ve been here 25 years, and we’ve never had this many rescues in one year,” Lattin said. “We’ve also not had this much of a wash out of the river bank that put a lot of trees into the water.”
With more than 60 rescues since April, things got dangerous enough for Corrales Fire Department to post personnel at the river to cut down on response time in June. It was the first time CFD has ever posted rescue workers at the river.
“We were out there on the weekends reminding people that life jackets are the law,” Lattin said. “We were pre-positioned so we could get to people quickly that were running into trees, flipping their kayaks over.”
Lattin said CFD has been working with Sandoval County, Bernalillo and Albuquerque all summer to save lives.
On June 18, five people were rescued from the river. A day later, 12 more people were pulled from the Rio Grande. Both rescues took place in Corrales. Also on June 19, Bernalillo County Fire and Rescue pulled five people from the river.
The river flow has dropped enough for CFD to pull that post, but the river is still dangerous.
“We had a call on Monday for a family that decided to go into the river at 7:20 p.m. with no flashlights and called 911 because they didn’t know where they were and they weren’t sure they could find where to get out because it was getting dark,” Lattin said. “We activated the whole team, and they were rescued without incident and no injuries.”