First responders rescue woman stranded in Putah Creek

Local News

WINTERS, Calif. (KTXL) — Although a water rescue in Putah Creek ended well, first responders want to remind everyone it is important to not underestimate the currents and always have a life vest on. 

Rescuers got the call for help Wednesday afternoon after reports of someone getting trapped in Putah Creek, just east of Canyon Creek Resort. 

Swift moving water had knocked a woman out of her kayak. 

“She did travel some distance before we got there,” said Winters Fire Department Capt. Cheyne Baumgart. 

Multiple agencies were call in to help, including California Highway Patrol Napa Air Operations. 

“She was also, at one spot, almost dead center of the creek, and the water was moving swiftly,” said CHP pilot Chris Omalza. 

Winters firefighters got into position on the ground to help in the rescue as the CHP flight crew zeroed in on her location. 

Video shows the woman holding onto a fallen tree as she waits for help. 

“She was very fortunate to be able to climb on top of that tree in the middle of the water. And hold on until rescuers were able to arrive,” said Whitney Lowe, CHP flight officer. 

Omalza positioned the helicopter overhead as Lowe coordinated rescuer Ken Tyler into the water. 

“Credit to this lady today. She did have a life vest on, which definitely help keep her on top of water and able to see the tree she was ultimately able to grab onto and wait for help,” Lowe said. 

“She was obviously frightened. I think she was very thankful that we were there,” Tyler said. “And she told me shortly after that, after she made it into the basket, she was profusely thankful that we were getting her out of the position that she was in.” 

It was a happy ending to the rescue and a reminder that the waters can be dangerous. 

“Not underestimating the currents, using personal floatation devices, and always bringing a friend or letting someone know when you’re out on the water,” Baumgart said. 

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