Lake Disaster Averted by Perfect Timing

Man picks the right day to have a water emergency.

Henderson County Fire Department had planned a water rescue training session for Wednesday.
The H.F.D. Diving Coordinator was on the scene at the Audubon State Park lake setting up for the training session.
That’s when he heard a cry for help.

An elderly man had lost power in his small boat and gotten stuck on the lake shore. In an effort to free himself, he fell into the water.

Henderson Fire Department Assistant  Chief Jerry Vanden Brook says the water was below 50 degrees and the risk of hypothermia setting in was there.

When the Diving Coordinator noticed what was happening, he immediately went into action and called it in.
Dispatch apparently thought it was part of the scheduled drill.
On his third attempt to clarify it was not part of training, Vanden Brook says the coordinator confirmed the reality of the situation.
An H.P.D. rescue team, already on standby for training, was immediately in-route.

In the meantime, the man had climbed onto a nearby log and was able to get back onto his boat. But, he was still stranded.

A diver swam to the man’s boat, freed the water craft and the man is towed safely back to the lake shore.
The man was checked out on scene and was cleared to go home.

As Eyewitness News crews were leaving, the Diving Coordinator tossed a body into the lake.
A dummy body, for the training session.

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