MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Rescuers pulled a Minneapolis couple from a small boat dangling over a spillway above St. Anthony Falls on the surging Mississippi River as Fourth of July crowds watched.
Firefighters used a boat to rescue Tom Barbeau, 54, and his wife, Margaret Brownrigg, 42, Wednesday afternoon from the boat just south of Nicollet Island.
The boat's motor had died, after which a strong current swept them to the Horseshoe Spillway, where they were stranded for about an hour. The spillway leads to the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam near downtown Minneapolis.
The Hennepin County Water Patrol thought about sending a helicopter to rescue the couple but decided to act after the boat began taking on water.
"This is one of the toughest rescues you can get," said John Szczech of the Minneapolis Fire Department. "It was very difficult with the high current. They're very fortunate their boat got hung up the way it did."
A life ring on a rope was extended to the couple in the boat, which had been secured with ropes to keep it from going over the falls. Brownrigg was removed first, then Barbeau.
Authorities said both of the boaters have multiple sclerosis and cannot swim.
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