Girl Rescued After Going Over Highway 97 Bridge Into Arkansas River

Monday, September 3rd 2018, 12:37 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A young girl around 11-years-old is safe after she fell off the Highway 97 bridge and into the Arkansas River during Monday morning's "Great Raft Race."

It could have been a tragedy but rescuers said she fell in deep water and a rescue boat was nearby.

From the railing on the bridge to the surface of the water, the drop is about 60 feet.

Sand Springs Fire Chief Mike Wood was on the bridge and heard the splash but didn't see what happened.

“Had citizens running towards me saying someone had gone into the water. So, I radioed the closest boat I could see and they turned around and come down and they snagged her just as she got to the other side of the bridge,” said Wood. 

Somehow, the girl, who was watching the race from the railing, ended up going over it and into the water.

Most of the rafts in the race had already passed by but a rescue boat was close.

“They saw her and told her to stay where she was because she could touch bottom,” said witness Karen Ketter. 

Ketter was waiting to see one of the last boats when she saw the rescue.
“She was okay. They got here and they got her and took her down there to the park,” Ketter said. 

A rescue boat from Keystone Fire delivered the girl back to the bank where though she didn't appear injured, she was taken to a hospital for a checkup.

Rescuers weren't sure about how she ended up going over four-foot tall railing but said she was fortunate she didn't hit the bottom of the stacks of debris up against the bridge.

“She was treading water and I think she was conscious the whole time. About the best outcome you could hope for with someone going off this bridge,” said Chief Wood. 

Besides that rescue, emergency workers had an uneventful raft race beside the usual handful of stranded boaters who couldn't make it downriver.