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Bystanders help rescue family stuck in minivan out of Logan River

Bystanders volunteered to help search and rescue crews retrieve a family trapped in a minivan that was stuck in the Logan River Saturday.(Photo: Lindsay Jean Thacker)

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — Bystanders volunteered to help search and rescue crews retrieve a family trapped in a minivan that was stuck in the Logan River Saturday.

As rescue crews arrived on scene, they noticed the van was in “one of the worst spots” — with the rushing water making it near impossible to access them.

“When we arrived on scene, I found a Toyota minivan in the middle of the river in probably one of the worst spots we could find them,” said Battalion Chief Joshua Francis to KSL.com.

How it happened

The mother and her four children were reportedly traveling from Logan to Bear Lake, when the mother attempted to pick up a spilled water bottle. That’s when the car drifted off the road into the river, according to Cache Valley Daily. 

Utah Highway Patrol, Cache County Search and Rescue Teams, and Logan City firefighters all responded to the scene. With the help of bystanders, the crews were able to formulate a plan to rescue the family. 

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

A Logan River rescue

Because of the position in the car, water wasn’t rushing into the vehicle — buying the rescue teams some time. Volunteers and rescue crew members quickly worked together to operate a rope and pulley system, individually lifting each family member out of the car.

Rescuers put each of the children in life jackets before hoisting them out of the vehicle. Then they attached them to a harness as the rescuer lifted them out of the van to bring them back to the road one at a time. 

Rescuers also positioned themselves a little further down the Logan River in case the swift current swept any  of the young children away, according to Cache Valley Daily. 

“It still wasn’t like what you would find in training, but what we were to accomplish was exactly what we wanted: To get everyone out of the river safely and nobody to get hurt,” Francis said. 

None of the children were seriously injured. Cache Valley Daily reported only one of the daughters suffered a laceration on her leg after the incident, according to Cache Valley Daily. Paramedics treated the family on scene and later transported them to Logan Regional Hospital to be checked out.