Local man praised as hero for brave river rescue

HADLEY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local man is being praised as a hero after helping to save people from a Saratoga County river when their whitewater river raft came under stress. NEWS10 catching up with the hero and has more on the rescue.

New York State Police are calling 18-year-old Devin Robarge a brave civilian for quickly jumping into action to help rescue two people from the Sacandaga River after their inflatable boat failed just below the Hadley Parabolic Bridge.

“There was a raft that was wrapped around a rock, stuck from the water. There was a, one of the customers had been freed from the boat and was standing on top of the rock and there was a younger girl that was stuck on the side, and she was the one trapped,” said Robarge.

Robarge says he missed the rock the first time he tried to get to the stranded rafters.

“I headed further upstream so that I could get more centered in the rock, swam out and almost missed but grabbed on to the straps on the side of the raft and pulled myself back up,” said Robarge.

He then quickly knew what needed to be done next and help to keep the woman’s head above water.

“I realized that the girl’s leg was pretty well stuck on the rock, and I actually thought her leg was broken because of the amount of water pressure that was on her leg form the side of the raft,” said Robarge.

New York State Police saying that they were in the right place at the right time to help. Their underwater recovery team and New York State Fire members were just wrapping up training in the area when they received a call for two boaters clinging to a rock.

“A couple of their guys swam out, they all missed.  A couple came down in boats, they missed too, got swept down. Eventually, one of their guys made it all the way out,” said Robarge.

Dane Morton, Robarge’s boss at Adirondack Adventure Center says he was on the phone with staff members from the minute the rescue began.

“Anytime you are in fast moving water, where there’s four thousand cubic feet of water per second coming down through this river. So, it’s incredibly powerful. My immediate fear was obviously for Devin,” said Morton.

Devin says he is now close to the woman he helped save. She did not want to talk about it at this time, but he tells me she is ok. A little banged up with no major injuries.

Morton says he has plan to honor Devin for his heroic efforts.

“We definitely have a surprise coming for Devin. It’s going to take about a week or so to get here but he’s going to be taken care of. I’m very proud of him,” said Morton.

The rafters rescued from the river were not customers of Adirondack Adventure Center but of another rafting company in the area.  

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