A Natrona County sheriff’s deputy rescued two women on Saturday from the North Platte River after the raft they were riding on sank.
The women were part of a group of five people floating the river on the raft, which was punctured at some point as it drifted downstream near Red Buttes.
None of the five were wearing life vests, according to the sheriff’s office. One person swam to shore and two others managed to climb to an island in the river.
The two women, meanwhile, grabbed onto overhead tree branches on the island, but were not able to pull themselves out of the water due to the steep bank, swift current and their depleted energy, according to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s Deputy Dexter Bryant arrived first on scene. He was followed by Sgt. Mark Bohr, who took up a downstream position with a throw rope.
One of the women told Bryant that she didn’t think she’d be able to hold on much longer, according to the sheriff’s office. The second said she feared her friend would drown if her friend let go of the branch.
Bryant acted quickly, removing his gear before putting on a life vest and swimming to the island. He pulled both women out of the water and onto to the island, the sheriff’s office said.
All five people eventually made it safely to shore.