CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mo. – Flooding along the Meramec River caused one boater to capsize under a bridge near Sullivan Sunday morning.
Brad England, the director of emergency services in Crawford County, said that during the summertime, around five or six people call 911 each week along the river. He said the most recent plea for help on the river came from a text message.
“He tried to call, the call did not go through. He was in a river valley, and so he sent a text message to 911, and we received that,” England said.
“Help” and “Sappington Bridge” are all the first texts said, but it was enough for the dispatchers to send first responders on the way.
“They located him underneath a bridge on the pilings clinging to some logs, and they saved his life,” England said. “Not every county has text to 911. There are a few counties that have it. Thirty-five counties have it, 24 counties are pending, and I believe 55 counties do not have it yet. That’s increased in the last five years, when only two to three counties had it.”
He said they average one text to 911 per month. Even though the service isn’t used often, he wants his staff to be prepared for an emergency.
“They train, and we train as a team for this type of scenario. So when it happened, they were able to mobilize quickly,” England said. “Understood what was happening, and that is a big factor in saving somebody who is in ice-cold water on a flooded river.”