Two Detroit police officers happened upon a terrifying scene one Monday night along the Detroit River. They saw a man lying face down on a bridge, about six feet above the rushing river, reaching out a coat floating in the water. When they realized the reason for the man's strange behavior, both officers jumped into rescue mode.
A freezing rescue attempt
A young woman was on the other end of the coat, desperately hanging on by her teeth to stay afloat in the rushing, frigid river. But she was losing the fight against the strong current - the officers watched as her head went under.
"I jumped in," Gadwell said. "I wrapped my legs around her, and I was able to grab, like a rebar or rod, that was sticking out the wall."
With his legs gripping the woman, the two of them hung on for dear life while the powerful and freezing river rushed over them. The water was about 49 degrees that night, according to The National Weather Service.
"His arms were failing"
Though Gadwell didn't know at the time, he was risking his life to save not one, but two people - the young woman in the river was pregnant.
Gadwell recounted the woman telling him she loved him while they were in the water together. "And I told her I loved her too or else I wouldn't be in here with you."
As the relentless current swept over them, Gladwell began to lose strength and knew he couldn't hold on much longer. "He started telling me he was failing, his arms were failing," saidSteven Rauser, the second officer. "She was definitely fighting for her life."
After seeing that his partner was losing his grip, Rauser also dove into the frigid water to help.
"I thought I was going to die"
Rauser's initial plan after jumping in was to pull them both out of the water, but he quickly realized that wouldn't be an option. Instead, he grabbed onto the wall and held the woman to wait for more help to arrive.
Eventually, a rescue boat came and saved all three of them. Without the bravery of both officers, the young woman and her unborn baby would most likely have perished while waiting for the emergency crew to arrive.
"I thought I was going to die," Gadwell recalled of the terrifying incident. "I was like, I'm gone."
Though the woman was saved from the rushing river, she and her unborn baby were still in critical condition. The rescue crew rushed her to the hospital where doctors determined an emergency C-section was the best option for both mother and baby, according to Faith It.
Miraculously, the woman and the baby were both saved and are now alive and healthy, thanks to the team of medical and emergency experts. But a special thanks goes out to the brave police officers who were willing to risk their lives just to save hers.