Fraser A. Potts helped to save a woman from drowning, Fairford, Manitoba, May 10, 2013. In a suicide attempt, a 22-year-old woman drove her car into the Fairford River. She exited the vehicle before it submerged and was then carried downstream by the swift current. On duty, Potts, 28, police officer, and his partner had responded to the scene. Potts ran along the bank after the woman and at a point opposite her entered the river for her, but he returned to the bank on encountering the river’s current and 37-degree water. Potts then continued along the bank following the woman, at one point wading through chest-deep water of a river inlet. He encouraged the woman to swim back to the bank, but to no effect, as the woman submerged as she continued downstream at about the center of the 300-foot-wide river. At a point about 1,200 feet from where the woman entered the river, Potts again waded in from the bank and, reaching his depth, swam to the woman and grasped her. He attempted to swim with her toward the bank as they were carried farther downstream, but he had difficulty moving his legs, as hypothermia was taking its effect. Potts’s partner and two other men responded in a small boat and reached Potts and the woman at a point about a mile downstream. By then, Potts and the woman were barely above the surface of the water, and Potts was almost completely immobilized. Those in the boat pulled them aboard, worked to warm them, and returned them to the bank. Potts and the woman were taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and they recovered.
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