Near death on Pea River brings possible change to boat ramps

COFFEE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Road crews in Coffee County will begin maintaining boat ramps around the Pea River monthly.

In late April, crews could not immediately care for an injured tuber on the river because the ramp was weathered down.

“In the name of public safety, Coffee County and the Coffee County Commission feel as though it is something for us to definitely keep on our radar,” Coffee County Engineer, Michael Walters said.

A group of tubers were floating down the river when one of the tubers, Kyle Greathouse, cut his foot on a piece of metal and was bleeding out from the bottom of his foot.

A tourniquet was applied to the injury and 911 was called, but first responders couldn’t reach Greathouse at first by boat because of a buildup of sand on the boat ramp. First responders called road crews to fix the sanding issue, which allowed the rescue boat to get into the water and rescue Greathouse.

Following this incident, crews in Coffee County will now check boat ramps every month and check and clean the ramp after heavy rainfall events that caused the river to rise and push sand onto the ramp.

“I want to make sure that we keep public safety at the forefront and if that means doing some of this periodic maintenance and checks after heavy rains, the commission feels like that is a necessity,” Walters said.

Over the last few years, the Pea River has become a popular place for people to hang out, which has increased the need for ramp maintenance.

“What’s really happened on the Pea River is that the usage has gone up tremendously,” Walters said.” So there’s been a little more need to look at the boat ramps.”

Walters says that hopefully, the new maintenance schedule will prevent any delays in launching rescue crews in the future.

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