Woman rescued from Eastside Lake

Published 7:18 pm Friday, December 18, 2020

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First responders are advising residents to avoid venturing out onto ice in and around Austin after a woman was rescued from Eastside Lake Thursday night.

According to Austin Police Chief David McKichan, a woman called first responders at about 10:27 p.m. on Thursday and reported that she heard screams coming from Eastside Lake Park, but was unable to see anybody due to darkness and foggy conditions.

One responding officer was able to center in on the victim’s audible cries and determined they came from an open part of the lake itself beyond the park. He was able to briefly locate the victim bobbing in the water, but determined there was no way to safely get out to her. The Austin Fire Department and Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service were immediately dispatched. Within a very short time, officers advised that the victim was unresponsive and floating in the water.

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Officers on scene used their spotlights to illuminate the patch of water and attempted to keep the victim in sight using binoculars and hand held thermal imaging cameras. Once AFD got on scene, the conditions called for a firefighter to dress in a rescue suit, rope up, and traverse about 1/3 of the way out across the lake on the ice with a rescue sled in order to get into the water and swim a significant distance to the rescue location. That firefighter was able to be directed to the area the victim was believed to be, which was on the very far side of the open patch of water.

At the time the victim was located, she had begun to submerge and was just visible enough to be found.

The victim and the rescuing firefighter were pulled to shore with the aid of a number of AFD firefighters. The victim was not breathing and had no pulse. CPR was started and the victim was  transported to Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin.

McKichan said that Mayo Clinic had called in specialized staff to treat the patient and utilized Mayo 1 crew members via ground transport as the foggy weather conditions prevented flight. The victim was left in the care of Mayo Health Systems.

Officers were able to locate the victim’s vehicle and identify her.

McKichan said police do not suspect foul play.

“Our thanks go out to the reporting party and it is fortunate that they were in a position to hear the victim and call for help,” he said.