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Learning the Ropes

Participants practice rescuing instructor Zach Byars during Wednesday’s training on the Smith River. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Upriver from Walker Road on Wednesday afternoon, swift-water rescuers-in-training became human chains to ford a shallow riffle; they moved laterally and in single file, their hands anchored to each others’ life vests. 

But a safe crossing isn’t guaranteed. 

Having reached the island on the other side and gone through a number of drills involving tethered rope and whistles, they may have expected their instructor to follow unharmed.

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