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Family Of Five Rescued From Logan River Crash

As protests were escalating and becoming violent in Salt Lake City, a different type of emergency was unfolding in Northern Utah. At approximately 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, emergency services were called to rescue a mother and her four children after she lost control of her car and ended up in the Logan River.

 “When we arrived on scene, I found a minivan — a Toyota minivan — in the middle of the river, in probably one of the worst spots we could find them," said Joshua Francis, the Battalion Chief for the Logan City Fire Department. “We had steep banks on both sides, and they were stuck in the middle near a big eddy and some rapids that we were having a really difficult time accessing the vehicle.”

Witnesses saw the van flowing down river before hitting a rock. But even with Cache County Search and Rescue, the fire department did not have enough manpower to pull off a safe extraction.

“One of the cool things is we just had some people come down canyon that actually were kayakers and certified in swift-water rescue, as well,” Francis said.

The kayakers were able to paddle across the swift run-off to secure support lines, and other bystanders joined in to help belay and hold the haul ropes.

"We were kind of invested by that point," said Erik Neilson, a bystander who initially made contact with the family after the vehicle stopped moving.

Though the people gathered at the scene had hopes they could wade in and get the family to safety, the river proved too fast.

“The only outcome that we could have had today was the fact that we recovered everybody from the vehicle safely, and that nobody from our team or search and rescue team or any civilians got hurt in the process. And that's what happened today," Francis said. "You can train all you want for these scenarios. It gives you something good in your toolbox. But sometimes when the incidents actually happen, you have to improvise, and we had to make a few improvisations today that really worked out in our favor.”

After hours of being trapped in the river, the family was transported to Logan Regional Hospital to treat any injuries that occurred in the crash. The identity of the woman driving the van was not released. Through social media, the woman’s sister wrote all the individuals from the crash are okay.

Brian Champagne grew up in the less-famous Central California but left after starting his television news career there. He worked 22 years in news for NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS affiliates in four markets. He served as chief photographer for KTXL-TV in Sacramento, but worked in front of the camera, too.