Three rescued from river banks after boats capsize

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Rough waters on the Watauga River interrupted three men's boat ride as the two john boats they were riding in capsized and left the men stranded on the banks of the river. One of the men suffered from possible hypothermia.
   Rescue workers were called out just minutes before 11 a.m. on Thursday after the three men were spotted attempting to pull themselves out of the river. Two of the men pulled themselves ashore on one side of the river while the third pulled himself ashore on the opposite bank from his companions.
   Officers from the Carter County Sheriff's Department, members of the Carter County Rescue Squad and members of the Watauga Volunteer Fire Department responded to help rescue the men.
   Rescue workers on the scene reported that the three men had been riding in two boats when the boats capsized. One of the boats sank while the second boat continued floating down the river.
   The two men who crawled onto the shore together were examined by Rescue Squad personnel, but they refused to be transported to a hospital. Their names were not released. Their companion, who was later identified as Howard Metcalf, no age or address available, was rescued by emergency personnel from the far bank where he had pulled himself ashore.
   Rescue workers parked behind a residence on Ninth Street in Watauga and had to walk approximately one half-mile through the woods to get to where Metcalf was stranded. Rescuers then used an all-terrain vehicle to transport Metcalf from the river bank to the ambulance.
   Metcalf was then transported by the Rescue Squad to Sycamore Shoals Hospital for treatment for possible hypothermia.
   According to medical definitions, hypothermia occurs when a person's core body temperature drops below 95 degrees. When a person's body temperature is between 90 and 95 degrees they are considered to be in mild hypothermia, with symptoms of uncontrollable shivering. People suffering from mild hypothermia are pale and cool and suffer from varying degrees of confusion and incoherence as well as difficulty moving. When a person's core body temperature drops below 90 degrees, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration decrease and the shivering reflex is gone.