Eight People Pulled From Elkhorn River Sunday Evening

WATERLOO, Neb. (KPTM) - Rescue crews were called to the Elkhorn River Sunday evening to search for several people stranded in the river after getting separated from their group.The call came in during the 7 p.m. hour as severe storms moved into Douglas County.Eight people were pulled from the river. Authorities say one woman was treated by medics, but refused being taken to the hospital.The dangerous rain water and runoff is why the Natural Resources District has now closed several access points along the river.Officials are warning people not to take a trip downstream.One tubing company says it's a risk not worth taking. The owner canceled all trips on the water Sunday.During a typical summer weekend an average of 3,000 tubers float down this river, but just a few days ago NRD officials had to make a tough call, to close the access points to the river during a busy holiday weekend."It's the last day of tubing, we're hoping to have a great weekend but the river had different plans for us," Owner of Tubing and Adventures, Brock Beran said.The Elkhorn River looks tranquil, but officials said underneath the murky waters are dangerous currents, strong enough to suck you under. "It's frustrating but it's the nature of the beast. When you run a business that you're at the mercy of Mother Nature, that's part of it, so you just have to roll with the punches."Officials also said heavy rain recently has caused poisonous chemicals to contaminate the water. Herbicides and pesticides from nearby farms have runoff into the river, making officials hesitant to allow anyone on the water. "We have to be very safety conscious, that's our number one concern and I don't like putting people out on the river if there's any sort of risk."And while other companies are still operating, Beran said it's a risk he's not willing to take."If the ramps are closed down, then the waterloo fire and rescue struggles getting access to the rivers, so if they struggle getting access to the rivers, I feel it's a risk to our tubers to put people out there when the ramps are closed."Even though NRD officials closed the access points to the river, they said they know people still get in the water and while they strongly discourage it, they just want to make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. The NRD said heavy rain Sunday will make the river rise overnight. Officials warn people that there could be large debris floating downstream on Monday. The NRD hopes to get the access points cleaned up and open by Wednesday.