French Broad River Rescue
Updated: Monday, January 21 2013, 09:06 PM EST
Two men saw signs of trouble along the French Broad that made them stop in their tracks and come to the aid of three women.
"I just glanced to my right and just saw them they were floating at a good pace," said Eric Degarabedian, who pulled up first off Ledbetter Road in Arden. "And if we hadn't of seen them, that would have been it."
What he and Gary Moore saw were three females floating helplessly down the river. Moore also saw the tip of their capsized canoe sticking up into the air. Suddenly, the strangers were swept into a swift water rescue effort.
"And a girl was screaming for help," Moore says. "We encouraged them to swim sideways."
Two were eventually pulled to safety. "And then I just went down to the bank. Muscled them up, get 'em out of the water."
Eventually, Skyland and Asheville Fire and Rescue teams found the third woman.
"She was on a log, her feet were still in the water. She did not respond to us when we first got up," said Skyland Fire Captain Kevin Bartlett.
Authorities say the torrential rain recently create potentially dangerous river conditions.
Battalion Chief Mike Staton of Skyland Fire says it's a hazardous time for recreation along mountain waterways.
"The speed of the water and how much is flooded, it's not a recommendation for people to be out in the high waters and swift water because of the dangers that could happen. "