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WILLIAMSON — A local woman was rescued by the Williamson Fire Department on Thursday afternoon, after her kayak overturned and left her stranded on the Tug Fork River.

Donna Smith of Williamson was safely rescued by members of the WFD’s Swiftwater Rescue Team as she was clinging onto the base of the U.S. 119 Bridge near Ferrell Gas at the mouth of Goodman Hollow.

According to a post on the WFD’s Facebook page, Smith flipped her kayak while traveling down the river just past the Fairview area, lost hold of it in the fast-moving water under the bridge and then climbed onto the base of the bridge to escape the cold water.

She was clinging to the bridge base for about 30 minutes until a couple who had come down to the riverbank to fish spotted her and called Mingo County 911.

The WFD deployed their swiftwater boat into the river, and Smith was rescued and delivered safely to the bank, where she declined ambulance transport for medical treatment.

According to Smith’s daughter, Deysha, her mother is doing OK but is shaken up. She said she was suffering from mild hypothermia and had some water in her lungs, but was very thankful for the WFD and the couple who found her. Firefighters also went down river to recover Smith’s kayak and return it to her.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at