Officials report record number of water rescues

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Corrales Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Tanya Lattin says her department has made over 60 water rescues so far this season.

“This summer has been the most we’ve ever done. I’ve been here since ‘97 and we’ve never had this many rescues in one season,” said Lattin. 

Lattin says the water rescue Sunday morning was an experienced kayaker who got tangled. But more often it’s inexperienced people not following proper safety rules, like on Saturday when they had multiple rescues.

“It was the first time we had a ton of people not bringing life jackets and refusing to put them on. It is the law and citations can be issued by police officers for not wearing a life jacket,” Lattin said. 

She says people even asked her if they can take the life jackets off in the water – an obvious no.

The fire department stays posted along the river to help people. But, Lattin says they can’t help but feel annoyed at this point.

“We really try not to get frustrated but it is. We’ve asked people that we’ve rescued, ‘Hey, did you not see the warnings, the media coverage?’ And they’re like, ‘No’ or they didn’t think it was still happening,” said Lattin. 

“It’s so easy to underestimate this river. This river kills people,” said Dan Shaw, an avid canoeist.