A Brunswick officer swam into the chilly waters of the Androscoggin River Tuesday night to rescue a woman who had jumped from the pedestrian walkway known as the Swinging Bridge.
State Police had received a call at 5:42 p.m. from a despondent 44-year-old Brunswick woman saying she was going to jump into the river. Dispatchers then lost the call, said Deputy Police Chief Marc Hagan.
Brunswick officers responded and found the woman already in the river, a quarter mile above where the river flows through a dam.
One officer ran for a throw rope while Sgt. Jonathan O’Connor scrambled down to the water’s edge, Hagan said.
“She was going under and she was a good 15 feet out from shore,” Hagan said.
O’Connor removed his duty belt, which is very heavy, waded into the swift flowing river and then swam to the woman and brought her back to shore. The current there is strong and dangerous, Hagan said.
“It was truly a heroic act,” he said. O’Connor has been with the department for 10 years.
Once on shore, the woman tried to go back into the river and officers had to handcuff her at the side of the river until she could be taken to a hospital for evaluation, Hagan said.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: