HAMMOND | Additional training and lessons for emergency personnel have resulted from the Aug. 29 rescue of a 61-year-old woman found in the water clinging to a dock at the Hammond Marina.
Because the family requested privacy, the woman’s name and hometown are not available, said Milan Kruszynski, Hammond Port Authority director.
However, the rescue showed both the Port Authority and the Hammond Fire Department additional coordination of efforts would be valuable, he said.
“We had the Fire Department crew, who got the woman out of the water, come here to the Marina. We walked through other scenarios that might happen. We showed them where our equipment is located,” Kruszynski said.
“It really opened up discussions to do something very proactive,” he said. “We’re here seven days and week and so’s the fire department. This is common sense stuff.”
Ann Marie Fahey, 61, Chicago, who was staying on a boat nearby and was walking her dog when discovered the woman gripping a hose along one of the piers about 6 a.m. Aug. 29.
“I’d heard what I thought was screaming while I was on the boat, but there are so many noises out there,” she said.
Fahey said she again heard the screaming and a woman’s voice crying out “Help me! Help me! I can’t get out.”
“Only God could lead me to the right dock,” Fahey said.
As she ran to get her cellphone in the boat, Fahey said a marina employee came running with another male employee.
“(One) held her up. He realized he couldn’t get her out. The other man called 911,” Fahey said.
Kruszynski declined to identify the marina employees who helped with the rescue, but said, “we’re thrilled that they were able to help.
Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith recalled the incident.
“One of our men (Pvt. Bryan Robson) put on a 'gumby' suit, one of the water survival suits, and jumped in the water and boosted her up. Others took hold of her and got her out of the water,” Smith said.
Smith said the woman was examined by paramedics.
“She had been in the water for about an hour,” he said. “But there were no signs of trauma and she was alert with no injuries.”
Taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Hospital in Hammond, the woman was released later that day, Smith said.
“I’m still trembling from what happened,” Fahey said. “As I was running down the dock, I was praying ‘Lord, put angels around her’ and He did.”
A retired teacher, Fahey said all those who helped in the rescue from the marina and fire department “did a yeoman’s job. I highly commend all of them.”