FFD Rescue

A drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera captures a photo of the man stranded on the Harpeth River.

The Franklin Fire Department staged a rescue Sunday afternoon after a Kayaker became stranded on the Harpeth River in Franklin just off of Lewisburg Pike.

The kayaker, who the Franklin Fire Department have only identified as a man in his 60s, fell into the Harpeth River after his kayak capsized. A passing motorist traveling on Mack Hatcher Memorial Parkway spotted the man trying unsuccessfully to reenter his kayak and called police.

Dispatching just after 2:30 p.m., fire responders took about 15 minutes to locate the man as well as three others in his group that had become separated from each other. Locating the man was accomplished in part using a drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera.

Battalion Chief Tyler Crews said they found the man "clinging to a tree surrounded by floodwaters" in the river, who after spotting first responders, managed to climb down the tree into a rescue boat on his own. The man was returned to Lewisburg Avenue where Williamson Medical Center staff assessed him.

Crews said the man was "cold, scratched and shaken up," but not seriously injured. The three other individuals in the man's group were also not seriously injured, with one managing to get to shore on his own and later asking a nearby bystander for assistance.

“With high water levels, strong currents, trees and debris, it’s extremely dangerous to enter flooded rivers and water," Crews said. "These individuals were very lucky.”

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