RIVERSIDE – A 52-year-old Countryside man found himself pulled downstream by a fast moving current on the Des Plaines River on Thursday after his canoe overturned.
Police received numerous 911 calls that a canoe had overturned on the river near the Barrypoint Bridge, just north of Ogden Avenue. Police found a man in the water yelling for assistance and being pushed downriver towards a park just east of the Riverside Public Library.
Initial attempts to throw the man a water rescue line were unsuccessful, but the man was able to grab hold of a tree branch that was hanging into the Des Plaines River and stand up in the water, even as it pushed against him.
Riverside officers were then able to pull the man from the river and his canoe as well.
Police said the man refused medical treatment and was only out of breath from struggling in the river's strong current.
Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said the man had a life vest on at the time, which he credited with helping the man not become submerged.