DETROIT (AP) — The pregnant woman struggling in the cold waters of the Detroit River wrapped her arms around Officer Brian Gadwell to stay afloat and told him: “I love you.”
He replied: “I love you, too, or else I wouldn’t be in here with you.”
Gadwell and fellow Detroit police Officer Steven Rauser were credited Tuesday in helping save the drowning woman who later delivered a son via cesarean section at a Detroit hospital.
Gadwell and Rauser responded to a 911 call late Monday night from Riverside Park in southwest Detroit to find the woman trying to hold onto a branch another man was dangling down to her.
The man also had extended a coat to the woman. “She was biting it to keep from going under,” said Gadwell, who jumped in first.
When Gadwell started to struggle due to the cold water temperature, Rauser jumped in, as did an EMS worker. Rauser has been with the police department 13 years.
“I’ve never felt nothing like that in my life,” said Gadwell, a 17-year veteran of the department. “I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to float down the river.”
The J.W. Westcott mail boat later arrived to help pull the woman out.
It was not immediately clear how the woman got into the river. Her condition and the condition of the newborn were unavailable Tuesday afternoon.
The officers and medic were treated for hypothermia.
Police Chief James Craig said he will seek lifesaving medals for the officers.
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