ON HAND FOR Monday’s recognition were, from left, Town Councilor Dave Watson, Brunswick Police Sgt. Jonathan O’Connor, Police Chief Richard Rizzo and Commander Marc Hagan.

ON HAND FOR Monday’s recognition were, from left, Town Councilor Dave Watson, Brunswick Police Sgt. Jonathan O’Connor, Police Chief Richard Rizzo and Commander Marc Hagan.

BRUNSWICK

When it came to risking himself to save the life of another, Brunswick Police Sgt. Jonathan O’Connor didn’t balk.

O’Connor was recognized by the town council on Monday for pulling an apparently suicidal woman out of the Androscoggin River in August.

The woman had reportedly notified state police that she was going to jump from the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge that spans the river between Brunswick and Topsham.

Upon arrival minutes later, O’Connor and Officer Terry Goan saw the woman from the bridge. She was in the water, being pulled by the current.

“Clearly, she was struggling,” O’Connor said in an interview on Monday. “She was unable to keep her head above the water. It was clear that, any minute she was going to go under the water and she wasn’t coming back up. We didn’t really have time to try other means (of rescue).”

O’Connor ran down the bridge to the water’s edge, removing his 25-pound duty belt, before diving into the river and reaching the woman who was 15 feet from the bank.

Goan had by then retrieved a throw-rope that he and Deputy Marine Warden J. Paul Plummer, who had also arrived on scene, used to haul them back onto the rocks.

“Once I got a hold of the rope and saw the two of them holding onto it, I thought, ‘we’re in good shape,’” O’Connor said.

As a result, O’Connor was recognized earlier this month with the Maine Chiefs of Police Association’s Act of Bravery Award at the organization’s annual meeting.

“If it were not for the actions of Sgt. O’Connor on that date, there was little doubt that this woman would have drowned in the Androscoggin River,” said Town Councilor David Watson, in presenting a proclamation honoring O’Connor’s actions.

“It was truly a heroic act, to save the life of a complete stranger,” said Brunswick Police Commander Marc Hagan in an interview on Monday, echoing comments made around the time he nominated O’Connor for the Chiefs’ award. “You can’t ask for more than that.”

Hagan also noted the actions of Goan and Plummer in helping to save the woman’s life.

“All three of them did a good job,” Hagan said.

In an interview, O’Connor added that, despite the risks, conditions could have been worse: “To be honest with you, the water temp was really quite pleasant. It wasn’t bad at all.”


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