Man rescued from Mississippi River after falling off barge near Grain Processing Corporation

Muscatine fire crews responding to a boating incident on the Mississippi River in Sept. 2020. [courtesy City of Muscatine]

A man was rescued from the Mississippi River late this afternoon after falling off a barge near Grain Processing Corporation at 1600 Oregon Street.

The Muscatine County Joint Communications Center (MUSCOM) was notified at 3:22 p.m. Sunday that an individual had fallen off a barge and was unable to climb out of the river.

The Muscatine Fire Department launched their rescue boat with two firefighters from the new boat launch on the upriver side of Riverside Park while other on-duty personnel went to the levee at the GPC facility to assist. The rescuers were able to reach the individual, pull him into the boat, and then transport him back to shore.

The individual had been in the 42 degree water for approximately 21 minutes. Once back on shore near the GPC facility, the individual was assisted by firefighters up and over the levee to the ambulance. He was transported to Unity Point Health – Trinity Muscatine for treatment.

Battalion Chief Ted Hillard said training in these types of rescues proved to be valuable.

“This was one of those low frequency but high risk events that we train for,” Hillard said. “There was a lot of wind which made the effort difficult but our personnel did a great job.”

Muscatine County Search and Rescue also responded to the call and had two boats in the water but were recalled after Muscatine Fire had the victim back on shore. The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department and the Muscatine County Police Department also provided assistance during the rescue.