Fire officials rescued three women around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday after they had been stranded on Muskegon River for 21 hours.
The women had set out on a first-time tubing trip alone 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to Deputy Fire Chief Bob Grabinksi of the Muskegon Township Fire Department.
The three women, all in their 20’s, believed the river would loop back around to where they launched off from.
“They went and bought some tubes and they went to the Maple Island Bridge, which is one of the access points to the river, a popular spot,” Grabinski said Thursday. “They were misinformed: Somebody said (the river) makes a big loop and they’d come right back to their car.”
The women hadn’t been on the river before had never seen the individual who gave them the faulty advice. They thought they were going out on a quick trip but it soon became apparent they had been misinformed.
“Right about dark they realized that that was not the case and so they got off the river onto the bank, screaming for help,” Grabinski said. “It was an isolated area. Unless somebody else is coming down the river, nobody’s going to hear them.
“I can only imagine how frightened they were. They had no food, no shelter, and they were in swimsuits.”
Stranded without cellphones, the women were finally rescued after a fisherman heard them and called 911.
“They were ecstatic that we found them and they were in pretty good spirits,” Grabinski said. “They have several scratches (from trying) to walk through some pricker-type bushes, and lots of bug bites.”
As for the next time, it doesn’t look like they’ll be trying their hand at tubing again.
“They did say that,” according to Grabinski. “They said, ‘I will never do this again.'”
“If you’re going to go tubing on a river, make sure you go with someone that has been on the river before.”