Two Carroll men safe after river incident

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

FRIES — Fries Fire Department, New River Trail State Park Police, Carroll County deputies responded and more were called in a report of two in trouble in the New River near Buck Dam. Fortunately, the rescuers weren't needed.

Though the report to authorities identified those who fell out of a canoe and got submerged in the water just upstream from Buck Dam as children, the two involved were men who pulled themselves out of the water.

The men identified themselves as Chris Belcher and Dustin Marshall of Hillsville, friends who decided to get outside on a mild, pleasant, sunny day after several straight days of rain.

But their canoe hit a rock under the extremely high water between Buck and Byllesby dams and started to sink.

"I swam my ass off," said Belcher, about being able to make it to land.

The rushing water swept Marshall towards a line of buoys strung along the New River. Marshall managed to grab onto the cable securing the buoys together in the middle of the river and pull himself along them until he could get out of the water.

Both men wore life jackets, and Marshall believes without one he probably would have drowned.