The La Crosse fire and police departments rescued a swimmer Wednesday who nearly drowned in the Mississippi River near the Cass Street bridge.
The fire department received a report of a man in distress at 7:07 p.m. Wednesday, and rescue units arrived at 7:12 p.m. to find the man attempting to hold onto a bridge pylon and yelling for help.
Officer Colin Sherden quickly retrieved a flotation device from his squad and successfully dropped it from the bridge to the man in the water. He was able to put on the flotation device and hold on until a fire department boat was able to pluck him from the water.
The person was safely rescued a minute later. He was not injured.
Officers’ interview of the swimmer revealed that he had been swimming in the vicinity of Pettibone Beach; however, he swam well beyond the beach area into the main channel.
While in the channel, a barge passed, creating a significant water disturbance. The wake from the barge was enough to pull the swimmer under the water, causing him to struggle and require help to get out of the river.
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