Man floating in Chippewa River prompts concerning calls to 911

Eau Claire (WQOW) – News 18 as been reporting on flooding concerns and high river levels all week, and a sight on the Chippewa River Friday gave some residents a fright. So much so, they called 911.

"The initial call was for a person in the water," said Eau Claire Fire Department Lt. Jamie Burkhardt. "With the high water conditions, it necessitated a response from the fire department to make sure the person was OK." 

The man in the river understood the public’s concern, kind of.

"Citizens were concerned, they thought there was a body floating in the river, and there was," said Richard Schuldt. "I was a body floating in the water."

Schuldt said he was simply enjoying the warm day. He said he is a trained SCUBA diver, and he normally swims in Half Moon Lake. On days like this, the bloated river calls to him.

"When the river gets high like it is, I really love the current because you’re moving so fast and you can ride the gyres and stuff," Schuldt said. "I have flippers and a vest – I’m safe."

News 18 has talked to officials all week about floating in the near-flooded rivers and they advise against it. Even strong swimmers can get swept away by the strong current.

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