Coast Guard and Detroit police rescue woman in Detroit River

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CLEVELAND — Personnel from the Coast Guard and the Detroit Police Department rescued a woman in the Detroit River Wednesday evening.

A security guard from Detroit River Walk Security called a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Detroit via phone at 5:30 p.m., to report a woman in the water in the vicinity of the UAW-Ford National Programs Center on W. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. Upon receiving the call, the SAR controller directed the launch of an ice rescue team from Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, which is located in Detroit.

Officers from the Detroit Police Department were first on the scene but were unable to conduct the rescue with the supplies and personnel on hand. The Station Belle Isle ice rescue team arrived on scene at about 5:45 p.m., and the primary rescuer from the team entered the water. He maneuvered himself behind the woman and used his flotation devices to hold the woman up. A second member of the ice rescue team then entered the water and placed around her a rescue sling, which is placed around the body and up under the armpits, and secured it.

The police officers and the two remaining members of the ice rescue team then tended the line attached to the rescue sling and hoisted the woman up out of the water and over a wall that was about 4 feet high. The woman was reportedly conscious but unresponsive. The rescuers then treated the woman for symptoms of hypothermia. Detroit emergency medical services personnel then transferred the woman to Detroit Receiving Hospital, concluding the on-scene rescue at 5:55 p.m.

“This case was unusual but, because of our training and the great teamwork among first responders, it was a successful rescue,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jakob Hansen, Station Belle Isle ice rescue team member. “We improvised with our normal rescue techniques and conducted a difficult rescue under difficult circumstances and, because of what we did, this woman is still alive.”

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