RCPD officers save tuber on the river


City of Radford photo – Radford City Police Officers Coffey (left) and Benson saved a tuber in distress on the New River on Sunday.

Heather Bell


RADFORD – Two Radford City Police officers are being lauded for their lifesaving skills after coming to the assistance of a tuber on the New River on Sunday.

Officers Coffey and Benson were dispatched to the New River near Riverview Park on Sunday after a 911 call came in reporting someone in distress on the river. A group of people on the riverbank near Hazel Hollow Drive reportedly saw the person in trouble, made the 911 call and ran alongside the riverbank until help arrived.

“Upon arrival, both officers immediately jumped into the New River and began to swim to the tuber,” according to a statement from the City of Radford. “Together, the officers were able to approach the distressed tuber and usher the individual safely to shore. The tuber was examined by Radford EMS before being transported home.” 

Radford Police Chief Jeff Dodson said he appreciates the actions of the officers.

“Officers Coffey and Benson acted admirably and as heroes, putting another’s life before their own,” said Dodson. “These officers live out their oath to serve and protect daily and this is just another example of Radford City Police Officers acting as humble heroes on the job.”

According to the city’s statement, the person who was rescued “would like to give thanks to the group of people on the riverbank off of Hazel Hollow Drive who made the tuber is distress call and ran alongside the riverbank until help arrived. The rescued tuber would also like to thank both Officers Coffey and Benson for their heroism and selflessness which resulted in a life being saved. Lastly, the individual thanks Radford Fire and EMS for gearing up to make the rescue and for the well-being examination post incident.” 

The city also offered a bit of advice to the public for enjoying the New River:

“Radford’s portion of the New River is beautiful and should continue to be enjoyed by tubers, boaters, and kayakers, while the weather still permits; however, this incident is a perfect reminder to practice water safety. Always wear a life jacket, go with friends, and pay attention to the change in current and water levels.”