Officials: Wear life jackets, use caution when recreating on water

A group of seven people were rescued Saturday from Mile 80 of the Kenai River

Cooper Landing Emergency Services on Sunday shared a reminder to people recreating in the area to wear a life jacket and exercise caution when navigating unfamiliar waterways. The agency said it has conducted five water rescues over the last two weekends.

“If you are operating a boat, please know the strength of the river, know how to row a raft or (drift boat) or cataraft or whatever you chose to attempt to float in,” the agency said. “When on any river, PLEASE WEAR A LIFE JACKET!”

A group of seven people were rescued Saturday from Mile 80 of the Kenai River, where their raft was caught on Howard’s Rock, near Cooper Landing, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety. A state trooper dispatch said all occupants of the boat, which included residents of Wasilla and Houston, were wearing life jackets and stayed in the boat.

Responding to the scene were Cooper Landing Emergency Medical Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Alaska Rivers Company and the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. A boat with rescue personnel picked up the seven people stranded, and the raft was later recovered.

Cooper Landing Emergency Services said on social media that the other four water rescues required EMS services because recreators ended up in water and suffered hypothermia.

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