Vikki Buzzard, left, and Ottis Buzzard of the county’s Swiftwater Rescue Team retrieved Jessie from the back of a truck that had rolled into the Chewuch River in Winthrop on Saturday (May 31). Photo by Don Nelson

Vikki Buzzard, left, and Ottis Buzzard of the county’s Swiftwater Rescue Team retrieved Jessie from the back of a truck that had rolled into the Chewuch River in Winthrop on Saturday (May 31). Photo by Don Nelson

This is the original story posted on 5/31/14. For an updated version, please see Rescue team plucks dog from Chewuch River.

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By Don Nelson

Several dozen spectators watched from the Highway 20 bridge on Saturday (May 31) as members of the county’s Swiftwater Rescue Team plucked a dog from the bed of a pickup truck that had inadvertently rolled into the Chewuch River from the parking lot behind the Tenderfoot store in Winthrop.

With the aid of guidelines anchored to the river banks, Vikki Buzzard and Ottis Buzzard maneuvered an inflatable raft to the back of the Ford F-150’s bed and rescued Jessie, owned by Paul Picolet of Twisp, at about 1 p.m. Picolet’s truck had rolled into the river at about 11 a.m., drifted downstream under the Highway 20 bridge and came to rest in rapid water just east of the bridge.

Picolet was not in the truck when it rolled into the river, but Jessie endured the adventure with relative calm. The dog waited in the truck, clearly nervous but not showing any inclination to leave, while the rescue team arrived, strategized how to reach the truck and retrieve the dog safely, and prepared their gear.

Dog and owner were happy to reunite after the Buzzards brought Jessie to shore. She shook off her coat and cavorted on the river bank, but stopped short of bounding back into the water.

Janet Verkuyl of Winthrop, Picolet’s mother, said she was grateful for the response and professionalism of the rescue team.

Personnel from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, Aero Methow Rescue Service, Okanogan County Fire District 6 and the Winthrop Marshal’s Office responded to the incident.

Last updated at 2:15 p.m. 5/31/14

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Added 6/1/14:

Reader Zane Stanbery was also on the scene and took this video that we are sharing with his permission: