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'It was a miracle': Billings couple recounts daring rescue on Yellowstone River

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 18, 2023

BILLINGS- A Billings family is being called heroes after a rescue on the Yellowstone River in Livingston recently at the North 89 bridge.

The Rogers family says they were on their way to recreate in the Crazy Mountains when they stopped for a break on their road trip at the fishing access site.

“It was a miracle,” says Anna Rogers.

Anna and her husband Caleb say they never thought twice about helping and jumped into action.

That Friday afternoon, they witnessed another family of four with two dogs enjoying the cool waters of the Yellowstone River, but soon the moment became frantic.

“They were splashing in the river, and one of the dogs gets caught in the current,” said Caleb.

They then witnessed a man go into the river’s strong current to assist the dog. That’s when he got stuck.

“We thought he would grab the dog and float downriver, but they were just both kind of stuck,” said Anna.

Anna had already sprung into action as the man was calling out for help, calling 911 for help from Park County Search and Rescue and the Park County Sheriff’s Office.

The man’s anxious wife also got into the river to help, while the family’s two small children stayed on the shore watching.

Anna recalls yelling at the children to stay put as she ran down the bank calling out to the woman, as Caleb reached for a rope and a board.

“He grabbed a rope tied it to the board, threw it out there and by that time the woman, I think she just gave out,” said Anna.

Anna stayed on the phone with dispatchers, watching the woman float downstream while Caleb worked to pull the man back to shore.

“But then she washed up,” said Anna. “I mean it was just a miracle she got spit out on the rocks.”

Caleb helped Anna navigate the bank and river bend, allowing her to reach the woman in distress.

“I came down the bank, stayed with her just kept her awake,” said Anna.

The woman was exhausted but everyone survived, thanks to the Rogers family’s quick action.

“We value life and I think anyone would have done what we did,” said Anna.

The family even got kudos from the Park County Sheriff’s Office, which posted on its Facebook page about the incident and the heart-pumping rescue.

Anna says she was told that this spot on the river can prove deadly.

“The sheriff said they lost a family in that same place in the river,” said Anna. “He said it’s the most dangerous part of the river in Livingston.”

They say when everything calmed down, the family headed back out on the road to continue their adventure but not without a lot of discussion and forethought.

“We told our kids after it happened, if you ever get caught in the current of the river, go with the river, don’t try to fight against it,” said Anna. “Wait until that current slows down a little, and then you can swim to the shore.”

For a family who loves adventure, they say, this is a trip they’ll never forget.

“We are just thankful everyone got to go home,” said Caleb.