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Right place, right time
Last week’s rescue of an 88-year-old man who suffered a medical emergency and ended up immersed in his vehicle under water in Sinclair Inlet is a good example of how things should work.
And it’s a great example of how a combined effort by citizens who were nearby and trained professionals can make a difference.
Jim and Francoise Deighan, who live on the hill above Bachman Park, heard a car come speeding down the Trenton Avenue hill. They saw the car go airborne and end up in the water. Francoise immediately called 911, while her husband, Jim, ran down to the water, stripped off his shirt and went in after the driver.
Meanwhile, two employees of SAFE Boats were out testing a new boat and jumped in the water to help Jim rescue the man. Both Jon Watkins and Jenson Charnell went to the man’s aid without stopping to think about their own safety.
Soon, Bremerton Police officer John Bogen and Lt. Pete Fisher arrived as did Bremerton firefighter Alex Magallon.
Watkins was able to cut the strap of the man’s seat belt, but could not pull him out of the car. All the rescue work was being done blind, the men said, because they could not open their eyes underwater.
When police and firefighters arrived, the car was completely underwater and they jumped in to help the citizens who were attempting to rescue the driver.
Bogen reached in the car window and felt the man. After several attempts he was able to undo the seat belt and pull the driver out with the help of Watkins.
The man was taken to shore and given CPR. He was taken to Harrison Medical Center and remains in the ICU unit there.
Days later when asked, the citizen responders said they never stopped to think about their own safety. They just reacted as they hoped anyone else would in times of need.
The professionals said they were just doing their jobs.
All of the responders, the citizens and the trained professionals, deserve our thanks for reacting so quickly.
The combination of quick reactions by neighbors and the employees out on the water made it possible for police and fire to be notified and respond quickly.
When emergencies happen, it can be easy to “freeze” and not respond. Fortunately, everyone involved did their part and because of that this emergency had a good outcome.