Airboat rescue

An airboat such as the one pictured was used to rescue a Lyon County family stranded by floodwaters Saturday west of Neosho Rapids.

Game wardens from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism deployed an airboat to rescue a rural Neosho Rapids family stranded by floodwater Saturday afternoon.

Lyon County Game Warden Aaron Scheve said officials from his department were called at about 1:09 p.m. Saturday to assist with a water rescue west of Neosho Rapids. Firefighters from Emporia and Neosho Rapids along with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office were trying to evacuate four residents surrounded by water.

“Firefighters equipped with rescue boats and swift water equipment tried to get to the stranded family first, but the flooded area created several obstacles,” Scheve said in a written statement. “After about an hour of negotiating flooded obstacles, it was decided to try an airboat to get to the stranded family.”

KDWPT game wardens had deployed an airboat to Fredonia for expected flood evacuations and swift rescues, but the boat was re-routed to Neosho Rapids.

When the airboat arrived in Neosho Rapids, it launched from the road ditch.

“The home that needed to be reached was more than a mile and a half away if traveled in a straight line,” Scheve wrote. “The route that had to be taken was much further than a direct line approach due to flood obstacles that had to be negotiated.”

The airboat made two trips, evacuating a total of four people. Each trip took about 18 minutes round-trip. No injuries were reported.

“This is a great example of how our local emergency responders work together in an effort to keep our communities safe,” Scheve wrote.

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