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2 found in river rescue

After a weekend rescue of two local men, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is asking local river users to exercise planning and cautioning when enjoying the areas waterways.

Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said the department received a call from the Santa Rosa, Fla., County Sheriff’s Office of “dropped 911 calls” Saturday at approximately 9:45 p.m.

“That led them to believe that someone was lost on the Conecuh River, and that was exactly the case,” Lambert said.

Lambert said when deputies began “pinging” the phone in an attempt to locate the person placing the 911 calls, they learned the calls appeared to originate between the Riverview Landing and the Pollard Landing on the Conecuh River.

Lambert said ECSO deputies were dispatched to Pollard boat landing to begin the upriver rescue while Georgia Pacific officials were asked to allow deputies to access their closed location on the Conecuh River.

“While the search was beginning, family members were contacted by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office from information retrieved from the caller’s cell phone,” Lambert said.

“The 911 callers were identified as two males, aged 17 and 22, who had been dropped off at the Riverview Landing on Friday.

“They planned to float down the Conecuh River on two boats until they reached the Terrell Landing behind the Quantum Refinery in Jay, Fla.,” he said. “The two men had arranged for family members to pick them up at noon Sunday but during their travels had lost their paddles.

“Thankfully, they had taken their cell phones and were able to make contact with law enforcement when they realized they were in trouble,” Lambert said.

Deputies found the two on a sandbar and transported them to their awaiting family at Pollard City Hall.

“The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office encourages people to be prepared when planning outings,” Lambert said. “Be sure to take cell phones with you, and let someone know of your plans before you leave. Brainstorm possible situations that could occur during your outing so that you can be prepared to face the unexpected.”