Harrowing rescue of woman from freezing water caught on body camera

Posted at 5:50 AM, Jan 30, 2020

Intense video captured by deputies with the Macomb County Sheriff's Department shows a woman hanging from a dock in Harrison Township being rescued from freezing cold water.

The rescue happened Jan. 27. The woman had been fishing when she stood up and lost her balance, authorities say. She fell into the icy waters.

The woman's friend, and even two fishermen in the area who heard the woman crying out for help, attempted to pull the woman from the water but her body had become numb, making it difficult to pull her back onto the dock.

The two fishermen who came to help began holding on to the woman so that she wouldn't slip further underwater.

When first responders arrived from the Macomb County Sheriff's Department and Harrison Township Fire Department, they were able to pull the woman from the 36 degree water. She was inside the water for roughly 15 minutes, police say.

On Tuesday, deputies said in a Facebook post that the woman is doing much better and recovering from the incident.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Department wanted to remind fishermen of some safety precautions.

What you need to know if you happen to fall into cold water.

• Don't panic. Try to get control of your breathing. Hold onto something or stay as still as possible until your breathing settles down. It may be a boat, a fixed object, or something floating. Focus on floating with your head above water until the cold shock response abates.
• If multiple people fall into cold water, huddling in a group lessens the loss of body heat and is good for morale. Also, rescuers can spot a group more easily than individuals.
• If you were not wearing a PFD when you entered the water, look to see if one is floating around you and put it on immediately. Don't take your clothes off unless absolutely necessary. A layer of water trapped inside your clothing will help insulate you.
• Get as much of your body out of the water as possible. Even though you may feel colder out of the water, the rate of heat loss will be slower than if immersed in water.
• If you cannot get out of the water quickly, act to protect against rapid heat loss. In as little as 10 minutes, you may be unable to self-rescue. Your focus now should be to slow heat loss.
o Safety typically looks closer than it actually is, so staying with the boat is usually a better choice than swimming.
o Adopt a position to reduce heat loss. If alone, use the HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Posture) position; or if there are others in the water with you, huddle together. The HELP position looks similar to the fetal position.
o If you must swim, conserve energy and minimize movement. Swim on your back with your upper arms against the sides of your chest, your thighs together, and your knees bent. Flutter-kick with your lower legs.
• Be prepared at all times to signal rescuers.
• Seek medical help immediately.
For more information on cold water safety please out