A Wyoming sheriff’s deputy is being credited with “incredible heroism” after rescuing two women following a rafting accident Saturday on the North Platte River in the Casper area.
The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office says the women were in a party of 5 floating on an inflatable raft, none wearing life jackets, when the raft was punctured and deflated.
One person swam to shore and called for help while 2 others made it to an island in the river.
The remaining 2 women were able to grab tree branches near the island, but couldn’t pull themselves out of the water because of fatigue, the strong current, and a steep bank.
Deputy Dexter Bryant was the first person to arrive at the scene, followed quickly by Sheriff’s Sgt Mark Bahr, who positioned himself downstream with a throw rope in case either woman lost their grip on the branches.
When one of them yelled to the deputies that she was running out of energy and couldn’t hold on much longer, Deputy Bryant decided he couldn’t wait for a rescue boat and decided to go to the island himself.
He took off his bullet-proof vest, gun belt, and boots, put on a life vest, and swam out to the women.
With his help, both women were able to get onto the island, where a fire department boat eventually brought them back to shore along with the two rafters who reached the island on their own.
Sgt Bahr says he has no doubts that Bryant’s actions save the life of at least one, if not both, of the women. Natrona County Undersheriff John Harlin describes Bryant’s actions as “incredible heroism that should be recognized.