Police & Fire Partner to Save Struggling Swimmer
This evening (May 27th) La Crosse Police and the La Crosse Fire Department responded to the area of the Cass St. bridge for a report of a person struggling in the water and yelling for help. The quick actions of the responding officers and the La Crosse Fire Department water rescue led to the individual being returned to shore safely.
Just after 7:00 pm this evening La Crosse Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to the area of Cass St bridge for a report of a person screaming for help and struggling in the water. Officer Sherden arrived in the area and located an individual struggling in the water attempting to hold onto a bridge pylon. Officer Sherden quickly retrieved a flotation device from his squad and successfully dropped from the bridge above down to the struggling individual. The individual was able to put on the flotation device and hold on until the responding fire department boat was able to successfully pluck the individual from the water.
Officers' interview of the swimmer discovered the he had been swimming in the area of Pettibone Beach, however swam well beyond the beach area into the main channel. While in the channel, a barge passed him creating a significant water disturbance. The wake from the barge was enough to pull the swimmer under the water causing him to struggle and needing help to get out of the river.
While this incident resulted in the swimmer being safely returned to shore because of the quick response of Police and Fire, it serves as a reminder of the dangers of our water ways. Swimmers should always stay within the general beach areas and do not attempt to swim in areas of heavy boat traffic or areas beyond their swimming abilities.