Murray rescue: Two more paddlers capsize

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12.30PM UPDATE: TWO paddlers have been rescued from the Murray River today, less than 24 hours after yesterday's dramatic rescue.

This morning's rescue happened near the Spirit of Progress Bridge after a man and woman capsized their canoe.

The pair scrambled back to their canoe and clung on top of it while waiting for help.

Volunteer search and rescue crews travelled upstream by boat to save the pair.

There were no injuries other than emotional distress. The woman broke down in tears once safe.

The Border Mail believes the canoeists were paddling with the same company with which a 75-year-old woman was paddling when she became stranded in the Murray yesterday.

EARLIER: A SEVENTY-five-year-old woman who couldn’t swim clung on for life underneath an overturned canoe in the Murray River yesterday.

Doris Fenech almost became the river’s latest drowning victim after she panicked while paddling in the powerful current near Bonegilla Island, above the Albury Waterworks.

She and her husband, Joe Fenech, 77, on holidays with family from Melbourne, hired a two-person canoe to paddle from Bonegilla to Noreuil Park.

Neither can swim.

Son-in-law Ross Jansz was in another canoe when he saw the pair panic before their canoe overturned about 3pm.

Both were wearing lifejackets and Mr Fenech grabbed hold of a branch, pulling himself to safety, but Mrs Fenech disappeared downstream with the canoe.

“We ran up and down the bank for about 10 minutes,” Mr Jansz said.

“We actually thought she was gone — it was hell.”

Mr Jansz ran to a nearby farmhouse where nurse Beth Hawkins phoned emergency services.

DROWNING IMMINENT: Locals say only a matter of time before someone is killed

Mr Jansz then spotted the canoe, with his mother-in-law underneath, her head just above water in an air pocket.

“She was still alive,” Mr Jansz said.

“We dragged her out from underneath and pulled her to safety.”

The family had hired the canoes from Canoe The Murray.

Operator Michael Tracey said he had been told the couple could swim.

“We always ask the question,” he said.

“At the end of the day, you say to them when they get in there that they’re entering this at their own risk. They’re responsible for their actions.”

He said he had given the couple and family members instructions on water safety and ensured they were wearing lifejackets.

Mr Tracey said the river was higher and the current faster yesterday after flows from Lake Hume were increased.

Personnel from Albury’s Volunteer Rescue Association were at the scene searching for the woman and later took her back to the Mungabareena boat ramp.

Squad captain Stuart Dye said the river was there to be enjoyed but needed to be respected.

He conceded those who couldn’t swim were risking their lives on the Murray.

“In fast water in these conditions you are probably dicing with death,” he said.

“You can be happily canoeing along one minute and get in a submerged snag or whirlpool and then you’re tipped out.”

Mr Tracey said he believed there was no need for further restrictions on canoe hire.

Mrs Fenech was taken to hospital after swallowing water.

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