Rescue teams work to save four people and a dog in the water near Blalock Island.

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A group of hunters swam for at least half an hour after their boat capsized in the Columbia River on Tuesday morning.

High winds, choppy water and an overloaded boat capsized her along the river around 11 a.m., said Adam Flohr, the Benton County Sheriff’s Deputy. The four hunters and a dog, who were not wearing a life jacket, were thrown into the freezing water.

One or two clung to a bag of decoys while the others managed to hover while people on shore called 911. The crash happened near the Blalock Islands.

The islands lie in the river along the Washington-Oregon border near the rural farming community of Paterson, Wash. On Highway 14.

Benton County Fire District 6 firefighters called for help from Benton County Sheriff’s Deputies and Columbia Basin Dive Rescue in pulling the men out of the water.

A deputy recruited a group of other boaters to pull two of the men out of the water and drop them on shore around 11:40 a.m., Flohr said.

Benton County Sheriff’s Deputies removed the others. One of the boats also rescued the dog.

The men were treated by doctors. Their current condition was not immediately available, but they were all aware when they were found.

According to initial reports, two people were pulled from the water by rescue teams and two others were helped by another boat in the area.

A LifeFlight medical helicopter was originally called, but was canceled. But the hunters were medically evaluated for hypothermia.

This story was originally published November 23, 2021 at 12:02 pm.

Cameron Probert covers the latest news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why the police and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communication at Washington State University.

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