Dangerous conditions keep rescue crews close to Rio Grande

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A lot of people are spending their holiday on the Rio Grande, as it’s a great way to cool off.

However, first responders aren’t taking any chances. Crews stationed up and down the river, ready for water rescues.

In the last three weeks, there have been 29 rescue calls on dangerous stretches of the river near Corrales.

When you go to the river, you can see just how quickly the water is moving. However, the bigger problem is that water has eroded about 100 feet of shoreline.

Now, the banks are unstable and there’s more dangerous debris underwater.

“Unless you’re very experienced on the water, it may not be the best time to be on the water,” Albuquerque Fire Rescue Lt. Robert Arguelles said.

Thanks to snowpack and recent rain, the river is moving fast.

“In previous years, we have scooted across the sand but it’s not like that now, it’s opposite conditions,” kayaker Mary Paas said. “They said a better place to launch is Bernalillo because its more of a float.”

Paas is gladly taking that advice. She loaded back up to find a new launching site.

Others, like 7-year-old Felix Allen, are ready for the challenge.

I’m very nervous and excited at the same time because I haven’t been floating in a long time,” Felix said.

He has safety equipment prepared for the entire family – furry friend included.

“Cara does not really know how to swim. Last season, she tried to get off our boat and it was not her best day,” Felix recalled.

First responders say those everyday tubes are a big no-no. But other than a few here and there most people showed up prepared for a day on the water.

“Sunscreen, bug spray, life vests, whistles, phones for emergencies, yeah were probably covered as best as we’re able to,” Paas said.

Remember, you have to wear a life vest if you get in the water. It’s also a good idea to have a raft or a boat with a hard shell bottom.

In case of an emergency, make sure you pay attention to those mile marker signs too.