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Workers with Fiber Optic Cables Rescued from Connecticut River

Sunderland, Mass. (WGGB) — Two men fell into the Connecticut River prompting an afternoon river rescue Wednesday.

The men were trying to pull fiber optic cables across the river in Sunderland when the accident happened.

Workers with White Mountain Cable and Construction say when it comes to stringing fiber optic cables, no 2 jobs are the same, but they typically aren’t wet ones.

Safety Manager for the company, Scott Robarge, told ABC40 News, “We were placing the fiber that’s hanging down low and the boat capsized in the current.”

Rescuers from Sunderland and Deerfield responded. Sunderland Police Chief Jeffrey Gilbert says the rescue was quick and went well, “We launched our boat. One guy made it out on the other side of the river. The other guy stayed with the boat.”

Workers say when they began this week they could see rocks and sand and with this week’s rain, the water level rose fast.

“It is a strong current. Not sure how fast it goes, I’m not sure, but it is a strong current,” explained Robarge who went on to say, “This is quite a span here. About a 950 feet span. Quite a distance. We knew there’d be some difficulties but the company handled this without problem in the past.”

Chief Gilbert says the men weren’t hurt. Meanwhile, firefighters successfully retrieved their boat.

“They were checked for hypothermia. They weren’t in that long. If they were in for longer the potential for hypothermia would have occurred,” says Gilbert.

The company spent the afternoon planning a safer and easier way to lift the cable from the water.



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