River rescue on the Savannah

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, March 6, 2008

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---Two women had to be rescued from the Savannah River today when they ran into trouble in their kayaks.

Michelle Nieves, 22, and Lauren Moser, 22, like to kayak in the river once in a while but they've never had an adventure quite like this one.

The trouble started once they hit some rapids, and Moser's kayak tipped over in the cold water.

"I knew she was floating away, so I [figured] she'll come get me," Moser said.

"I thought I could come get her and then I thought I was gonna die," Nieves said.

As Nieves tried to help her friend, her kayak flipped, too.

"I just started praying, just praying a lot," she said.

Finally she reached a small island and that's when she heard some hammering.

"I saw a man working on a house and just started screaming and I can't believe he heard me over the rapids," Nieves said.

The man called police and both North Augusta and Augusta fire departments took boats out. They could only go to a certain part, though, and ended up having to use the smaller jet skis to reach the girls and bring them to safety.

They'd been in the water two to three hours.

Firefighters say their life jackets are probably what saved the two.

"I know it's hot sometimes on the river and people like to take them off, but you know, you'll always be safe with a life jacket on," said Mike Stacy, who runs the Augusta Riverwalk Marina.

He says there are many way to stay safer on the water.

One is to take a class to learn more about what you're doing, or go out with someone with experience.

Also, know the conditions around you. Recent rain made water levels high, fast and more dangerous for these two women.

And the obvious don't drink when you're out on the water.

As for Nieves and Moser, they say they got some help from above.

"Thank God, thank God. Seriously that's Jesus right there," said Nieves.

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