2 pulled from Grand River after boat capsizes

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men had to be rescued after their boat capsized on the Grand River in Grand Rapids Tuesday morning.

It happened around 10:30 a.m. near the 6th Street Dam.

Video taken by a witness shows the boat got too close to the dam and flipped, sending the two men into the water.

“They went one cycle under and popped back up and we were there to rescue them,” Kameron Zemites said.

Zemites is a charter boat captain who was out with clients on the river when he saw the unidentified pair go in the water. He said he acted on instinct and pulled the pair out of the water, delivering them to shore where Grand Rapids Fire Department personnel took the men for treatment.

Both men were taken to the hospital, though there didn’t seem to be any serious injuries. One was complaining of an injury to his shoulder.

A wrecker with a crane got the boat out of the river.

Grand Rapids Fire Department Battalion Chief Kathleen Thompson said the department responds to a couple of river rescues each year, usually during salmon season.

“We have people who don’t appreciate how evil this river can be,” Thompson said. “The churn will kill you. The dam (is) unbelievably powerful with all the rain. Don’t mess with it.”

Fishermen that have experience with the 6th Street Dam said people need to respect the hazards.

“It’s the concrete jungle. We call it 6th Street and mistakes happen, but it’s a life or death situation sometimes,” Jay Griffin, an angler said.

Zemites is an experienced boat captain who said he acted on instinct, but Thompson says it’s better to just call 911. 

“We have a lot of money in boats and training and really good people who are good at it. Please let us do the job. Don’t get yourself in trouble,” Thompson said.

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