DNR: St. John woman rescues husband in fishing accident

2014-06-07T16:13:00Z 2014-06-07T22:54:12Z DNR: St. John woman rescues husband in fishing accidentTimes Staff nwitimes.com
June 07, 2014 4:13 pm  • 

A St. John woman rescued her husband of 45 years from a Noble County lake Friday night after the rowboat he was fishing in capsized, state conservation officers said.

Conservation officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said William Heidenreich, 67, of St. John, was fishing in a small rowboat on Mirror Lake about 50 miles southeast of South Bend on Friday night.

Heidenreich turned the boat around to row to shore, and it capsized. Roberta Heidenreich, his wife, told officers she knew her husband could not swim. 

So she grabbed a life vest and seat cushion and swam 100 yards from shore, conservation officers reported. Her husband reportedly went under the water twice as she approached him.

Officers said William Heidenreich nearly went underwater a third time when his wife reached him with the floatation devices. 

A nearby Orange Township firefighter, Ty Conley, rowed a nearby boat to retrieve the couple and take them to shore, officials said.

No one was injured in the incident, officers said.

"The quick, decisive and brave actions of Roberta Heidenreich saved her husband's life," a press release from the IDNR's law enforcement division said. "The rapid response and rescue by firefighter Ty Conley saved the exhausted Heidenreich couple.

"This chain of events exhibits the importance of awareness while recreating on our lakes, as well as the necessity of personal flotation devices."

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