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Daring rescue from Idaho River.

On Sunday, November 26, Sarah Cox, her husband Dick Knapp, and her friend Kathl Whitacre went kayaking on the Payette River in Idaho. They expected the trip to be a leisurely two hours. But as the trio neared an area known as the "Go Left Rapid," the raging river flipped over Sarah's kayak, pinning her against a rock.

"She was hanging onto the rock, couldn't get off, but she was able to breathe, just hanging there," Boise's Whitacre told KTVB News. "It is so fast and slippery, [Dick and I] couldn't do anything. She told me go get help, the last time when I paddled to her."

Dick continued trying to reach his wife. He was able to get close enough that he could see her mouth the words "I love you," but the current was too strong, and his efforts to reach her were futile. Sarah bolstered her spirits by singing a hymn she remembered from childhood--"This Is My Father's World."

An hour went by and Sarah Cox--and her husband--wondered how long she could survive in the water that was in the 40s without succumbing to hypothermia.

During that time, Whitacre, who was out of cellphone range, flagged down a female motorist who then rushed to town to call 911. As she was doing so, a man named Conrad Fourney, a veteran kayaker, was going into town to buy a Christmas-tree permit. When he entered the Banks Store & Cafe, he noticed a woman come in to call 911.

"She said there was a kayaker trapped near there down the river and so we borrowed some safety lines and life jackets from the local store and went down and tried to help rescue her. I was able to use the inflatable kayak and paddle out and get behind the rock and then fortunately Sarah was able to hold on to that inflatable kayak while I got out of it and up on to the rock and once I got on the rock I was able to grab onto her life jacket and pull her free," Fourney told KBCI TV-2 News in Boise.

People were waiting on the riverbank to pull Sarah out of the water, and when she was rescued she was taken by ambulance to a Boise hospital. The fire department told KTVB News that Cox didn't suffer hypothermia because of the safety gear she was wearing.

Shortly before Fourney's arrival, Sarah had just about given up hope. "Then, suddenly, this man in an inflatable kayak appears in the eddy," she told the Idaho Statesman. "I hadn't even known he was coming. My first thought was, 'This is an angel. This is somebody who has been sent to get me off this rock.'"

"I am indebted to so many people," Dick Knapp told the paper. He expressed gratitude to Fourney, the volunteer firemen with the Garden Valley Fire Protection District, and the couple's friend, Kathl Whitacre.
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Title Annotation:THE GOODNESS OF AMERICA
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Date:Jan 8, 2007
Words:488
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