Officials: Rivers still not safe

By Kelly McCarthy
By Lauren Mullins

Officials: Rivers still not safe

July 5, 2013 Updated Jul 5, 2013 at 11:39 PM EDT

Binghamton NY (WBNG Binghamton) Although river levels have dropped in the past few days, local waterways are still at dangerous stages, according to Broome County Emergency Services officials.

They are urging people to stay away from the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers -- and their major tributaries -- until their levels return to normal.

Crews recommend holding off on water recreational sports for the time being, as the current remains strong.

Broome County has already responded to two water rescues in the past week. Chenango County crews pulled a woman from the Cheango River earlier this week near McCreedy Motors on State Highway 12B.

The waters are still extremely dangerous, even if they are no longer at flood stage, officials said.

Emergency services officials say when it comes to the rivers with all the rain the area has received, it's what swimmers can't see that can be deadly.

"There's a lot of debris under the river, there's stuff that's not seen," said Director of Emergency Services Brett Chellis. "The river's a lot different than a lake and it's much more dangerous when it comes to this type of recreational boating."

Chellis recommends water sports -- like kayaking or canoeing -- should be put on hold until rivers return to normal levels.

"When the water's moving so fast, it's not a good time to be kayaking." Chellis said. "I think a lot of people underestimate the current and the conditions of the river."

Chellis said his best piece of advice is to stay away from the rivers all together, but those who choose to be near the river should make sure to wear a life jacket, and make sure others in the group are wearing theirs as well.

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