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Published May 24, 2013, 08:34 AM

Woman rescued from Red River near Midtown Dam

FARGO – A woman was taken to the hospital early today after being rescued from the chilly Red River near Fargo’s Midtown Dam.

By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

FARGO – A woman was taken to the hospital Friday after she fell into the Red River and used her cellphone to direct rescuers to her location.

The Fargo Fire Department responded to the call about 2:20 a.m. from a woman who phoned 911 while clinging to rock in the river.

According to a fire department report on the incident:

Emergency workers found the woman clinging to a post at the end of a boat landing about 90 feet from the water’s edge, about 100 yards downstream from the Midtown Dam, where the woman went into the water.

While a fire department boat was being launched, two firefighters waded out on the boat ramp, which was covered by high water from recent rains, and threw the woman a rope.

The woman was unable to grab it, however, and firefighters waded out to the woman and held her head above water while helping her into the boat.

The woman was taken to shore and transported to the hospital by FM Ambulance.

Fire Department Battalion Chief Dane Carley said authorities don’t know why the woman was near the river at that time of night, but he said it appears that after she fell into the river she initially grabbed onto a rock near the river’s edge and made her phone call from there.

He said she began losing her grip so she threw her phone to the river bank so she could use both hands to hold onto the rock.

Carley said the woman lost her grip on the rock and was swept downstream until she reached the post and grabbed onto that.

He said the woman’s condition was unknown, but she was able to walk on her own after being pulled from the river. Carley said the information available to him did not include the woman’s name or where she was from.

Based on a transcript of the 911 call, the woman apparently needed to go to the bathroom and chose to do so near the river.

The following is a shortened version of that 911 call:

Dispatcher: 911, what’s the address of your emergency?

Female: Ah, I’m stuck in the river.

Dispatcher: What … are you close by the dike or are you close over by …

Female: By the High Rise.

Dispatcher: By the High Rise? OK.

Female: I gotta go cuz this is way too cold.

Dispatcher: OK. How far out are you?

Female: What?

Dispatcher: How far out are you?

Female: Far enough to fall in and drown.

Dispatcher: OK, stay on the phone with me, OK?

Female: I can’t. I can’t hold on.

Dispatcher: What are you holding onto?

Female: A rock.

Dispatcher: OK. What side of the High Rise are you on?

Female: I can’t talk, I can’t hold on.

Female: I cannot hold on. I cannot hold on. My phone will be by the edge in the dirt.

(Long pause)

(Background voices … emergency personnel arriving?)

Line goes dead.

End of call.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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