Detroit cops, mail barge captain save pregnant woman from Detroit River

- Two Detroit Police officers risked their own lives to save a woman from the Detroit River. It was only after the woman was pulled out of the water they realized they saved a second life too.

Around 11 p.m., the 911 call was a made: A woman had fallen into the water at Riverside Park. Officers Brian Gadwell and Stephen Rauser were the first to show up at the pier.

There was a guy laying on the ground, it was a five feet drop, he was holding a branch. There was a lady in the water struggling (and) trying to hang on to the branch," Gadwell said.

Hypothermia was setting in, and she was losing her grip and about to go under.

"We had to do something - we couldn't wait no more, she was barely hanging on. So at that point we jumped in. I wrapped my legs around her and I was able to grab rebar or a rod that was sticking out of the water. I held on to her," Gadwell said.

Pregnant 20-year-old pulled from Detroit River by police, Good Samaritans

The water was 48 degrees, it was pitch black and the current was swift. Gadwell thought he was done.

"I started losing feeling in my hands (and) my hands stopped working. I had to wrap my arm around the bar and try to lock it in," he said. "I thought I was going to die, to be honest with you. I was yelling at them 'you guys better do something - I can't hang on.'"

His partner, Steven Rauser, jumped in too, as more first responders arrived.

"She was around my neck, hanging on to my back, pulling us both in," Rauser said.

That's where Ryan Gazdecki comes in. The senior captain of the J.W. Wescott - the barge that delivers mail to freighters in the Detroit River - was about to leave for the night. Then he realized he could help rescue the woman. He fired up the Wescott, and he and a coworker made their way over. They tossed a life right to the rescuers and pulled her onto the boat.

That's when they realized she was pregnant.

"Once she started coming out, I yelled to everyone 'she's pregnant, we got to be real careful with her,'" Gazdecki said.

The woman and the two officers were all treated for hypothermia. At the hospital, doctors performed an emergency C-section and we're told that mom and the baby are okay.

It's unknown how or why she ended up in the water but these heroes are glad to help.

"She told me she loved me and I said 'I love you too or else I wouldn't be in here with you'," Gadwell said.


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