Kayaking City Councilman Plays Key Role in Rescue

Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Samoa BridgeEureka City Councilman Larry Glass is being called a hero this week after helping to save the life of a woman who jumped from the Samoa Bridge.

He was out for a paddle after working for 14 days straight when he heard the fire truck sirens racing out to the bridge. Paddling harder, he went over to see what was going on. When the EMS personal noticed Glass his is kayak, they frantically started gesturing ot get his attention and call him over.

"It was pouring rain and the water was freezing cold," Glass said. "I thought maybe they were chasing somebody or something."

"I looked over and could see something that looked like either a piece of plastic or a log floating," Glass said. "It wasn't until I was about five feet away from it that I realized it was a person floating in the water -- just floating motionless ... . I could tell she wasn't dead because she looked at me."

Glass said he asked the woman to grab on to his kayak, but she couldn't. So, Glass said he grabbed her clothing with one hand, and used the pedals in his kayak to try to bring her to shore. But, still about 75 to 100 feet from the Humboldt State University boathouse, Glass said the current became too much.

"I just didn't seem to be making any more forward progress," Glass said. "I was just stationary, even though I was working my butt off."

About five minutes later, a Humboldt County Sheriff's Department boat arrived on the scene and they were able to pull the lady from the water.

"It was only then that I realized how injured she was," Glass said, adding that the woman appeared to be suffering from hypothermia and to have broken each of her limbs, some with compound fractures. "It was shocking -- that's the only thing I can say."

Glass and Reynolds then immediately took the woman to shore, where she was loaded into an ambulance and taken to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment. Gillespie said that, as of Monday morning, she remained in the intensive care unit.

Glass said he was contacted by the woman's family Monday night, and they thankfully told him she is expected to live.

Eureka Police Department Sgt. Bill Nova said it looks like the woman jumped from the bridge and landed on one of concrete seismic retrofitting structures at the foot of the bridge before rolling into the water below.

"That probably saved her life," Nova said. "That water was so cold it just shut her down, and probably kept her from bleeding out."

Gillespie said Glass also played a major role in saving the woman's life.

"He happened to be in the right place at the right time," he said. "Larry did play a very integral role in keeping her alive out there, keeping her afloat, until we could get her on a boat and on her way to a hospital."

More info: times-standard.com

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo