Swift water rescue members speak on water dangers - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Swift water rescue members speak on water dangers

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ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) -

Scores of first responders dropped everything late Wednesday afternoon to search frantically for a teenager who disappeared in the Coosa River in Wetumpka.

For Lt. Norman Carlton and Elmore County Sheriff's Deputy Cory Shaw, what happened at the Corn Creek section of the Coosa River is just now starting to sink in.

"It hit me after I got home last night,' said Lt. Carlton.

Deputy Shaw was the first to arrive on the scene. He dropped his gun and phone but kept his radio and made the 100 yard slippery walk to the big rock on the other side of the creek. It was there where the teenager's friends told Shaw where to look. The water was higher and the currents a lot faster, which made normal conversations virtually impossible.

"It was difficult to hear but once I got over there they pointed in the general direction of where he went under," said Shaw.

Sharp rocks, unpredictable currents and potential snakes to deal with, Carlton found out quickly the rocky bottom is deceptive.

"I stepped in one spot and immediately sunk. I had to have another deputy pull me out," said Carlton.

What Carlton and Shaw did illustrates what rescue teams often go through in a desperate attempt to save a life in the river yet this is nothing compared to the very family who lost 15-year old Shalom Nowden. Authorities say Nowden was not wearing a life-jacket. The teenager's untimely death is something Lt. Carlton will never forget.

"We wished we could have done more," said Carlton.

There is another reason why Carlton won't forget this drowning anytime soon. This was his first rescue attempt. Carlton's primary job is in the Elmore County jail but jumped in to help because Corn Creek is located behind the jail.

Even though Carlton and Shaw couldn't reach Nowden in time both say they gave it everything they had and won't hesitate to face their personal dangers again should there be another emergency.

For more information on water safety, visit the American Red Cross website.

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