02 July 2009

Dramatic rescue of the woman trapped in swirling water at the base of a dam

By Sarah Titterton 02nd July 2009
A construction worker dangles from a crane, his arm stretched out to reach a terrified woman trapped in swirling water at the base of a dam.

These astonishing images show the dramatic rescue of the woman after her boat overturned near the dam on the Des Moines River in Iowa.

She was pulled to safety by the quick-thinking construction crew - but her husband, who was with her in the boat when it overturned yesterday, tragically drowned.

Clutching life preservers thrown to her by rescue services, the woman struggles to stay afloat near the dam before the rescue

Emergency crews said it is likely the woman would have drowned had it not been for the construction crew's heroic rescue operation

'I saw the boat drift down, and he started it up and he hit the bridge base,' construction worker Joe Lowe told local media.

'Then he tried to wrap it up with an anchor or line and then I heard him holler at his wife, put your life jacket on. He didn't have one on.'

The unnamed husband's concern for his wife may have saved her life. Her life jacket kept her afloat in the swirling waters of the river for up more than half an hour as construction worker Jason Oglesbee battled to reach her.

Des Moines police Sgt. Joe Gonzalez said the workers saw the woman floating in a boil and they tried to move a crane over to her.

Construction worker Jason Oglesbee dangles from a crane as he stretches a hand towards the drowning woman in the Des Moines River yesterday

Meanwhile, fire crews tried to throw life preservers from a boat.

After the initial attempt with the crane was unsuccessful, the construction company rigged up Oglesbee to the crane with a harness and Oglesbee was able to grab the woman from the water.

'They just harnessed me in and dipped me down in the water and I grabbed her,' he said.

When asked if he volunteered to be rigged to the crane, Oglesbee said he just happened to be wearing the harness.

'I just told her to hang on tight. I won't let go,' Oglesbee recalled.

The heroic construction worker pulls the woman to safety

He insisted the rescue was a team effort and was reluctant to talk to media, saying: 'It's no big deal. The whole crew did it.'

'If it wasn't for the team effort of Cramer & Associates, we might have two drowning victims,' Gonzalez said.

The body of the man, who was in his 60s, was pulled from the water about 25 minutes after the boat overturned at 4pm yesterday afternoon.

The woman was pulled from the water at 4.35pm and rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced stable last night. - dailymail.co.uk

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