DeKALB – Area rescue crews were busy Friday morning after a car slid into the Kishwaukee River near the Lincoln Highway bridge.
DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff McMaster said the call came in about 9 a.m. Crews wore water rescue ice suits as they went into the river, he said.
The first two paramedic/firefighters on the scene, Noah Millard and Trevor Chilton, created a bridge to the car from the riverbank using a ladder and ropes, he said. They also needed to ensure that the car was stable and wouldn’t move in the river. McMaster said Lovett’s Towing was on the scene if necessary to stabilize the car.
“They began treating her inside the vehicle,” McMaster said. The driver suffered injuries and was not able to get out of the vehicle, but, McMaster said, the injuries were not life threatening.
Firefighter and paramedic Joe Wempe said crews are trained in technical rescue to some degree, but sometimes there is a situation where there is no usual procedure.
“It was a unique situation,” McMaster said. While the department trains for water rescues in all types of weather, including cold weather trainings in January and February, it’s difficult to train in swift water like the Kishwaukee River, he said.
Firefighters put the driver into a harness and pulled her across the ladder bridge then, using the ropes, pulled her up the embankment to a waiting ambulance, McMaster said.
McMaster said she would receive advanced life support inside the ambulance after spending almost an hour in the river. He said hypothermia is a concern, and she would be warmed up, given warm IV fluids and paramedics would monitor her heart. She was later taken to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital.
Sycamore Fire Department was also on the scene and assisted with their water rescue boat.
Source: The Daily Chronicle