The quick actions of a Spokane Police officer helped saved a man from drowning in the Spokane River Monday morning.
The Spokane River is cold and powerful this time of year and for one man it nearly cost him his life as, shortly after 10 a.m. Spokane Fire sent out a call for a water rescue near the Red Lion River Inn. A man was floating downstream toward the Division Street Bridge.
According to the police department, one of the officers responding to the incident was Officer Bruce Palmer.
“I could just barely see his head kind of floating, a couple of times his head just went under the water and there was some people yelling and pointing saying, 'He's over here, he's over here,'” Palmer said.
Seeing the man in distress, Palmer started working out what his options were to save him.
“He was right out in the middle so then I'm thinking how are we going to get to this guy and is he going to be able to stay afloat,” he said.
Palmer spotted the pool at the Red Lion River Inn and took off running, scaling the six-foot fence around the pool and grabbed a life ring.
“I knew our best shot was just to get above him on the bridge lower the life ring down to him and hopefully he would be strong enough to be able to grab it in that cold water,” Palmer said.
The man, exhausted and cold, floated in to the waiting ring.
“The rope wasn't long enough and so we were just barely hanging onto the end of the rope and that's where I had the over officers helping me and then the fire department got there and they were helping as well,” Palmer said.
The victim was eventually brought to the shore, where he was loaded into an AMR ambulance and taken to the hospital.
“I think we saved his life,” Palmer said. “He was very close to not making it."