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Good Samaritans Help Save Woman From Chicago River

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Three people helped pull a woman to safety Thursday, after she jumped into the Chicago River downtown.

Fire Department Battalion Chief Linda Parsons said a 911 call came in around 11:45 a.m. about a person in the river near Canal and Adams streets, by Union Station.

When the first crews arrived, three people already were pulling the woman to a landing along the river’s edge.

“There were some Good Samaritans; three Good Samaritans assisting her already by the time we got here,” Parsons said.

Parsons and other firefighters helped pull the woman out of the water. Paramedics started treating her for symptoms of hypothermia and took her to a hospital.

The woman told firefighters she had tried to commit suicide because of a family tragedy, but changed her mind when she hit the frigid water.

“This woman stated that she was distraught. She had just lost four close family members, and had a moment of despair, and jumped in the water. We don’t know what happened with her family members,” Parsons said. “However, she at that point was glad to be rescued.”

Butch Kazich and Derek Lamb were working on a lift at Union Station along the river when they heard people on the nearby bridge shouting for help.

“We were working down here, and we heard a bunch of people yelling up on the bridge and pointing,” Kazich said.

When they spotted the woman in the river, Kazich grabbed a pole to reach out to her.

“I grabbed a long piece of conduit, and I stuck it down there, and she grabbed onto it, and we were holding her up,” he said.

Someone on the level above them tossed them a life preserver — which the city places on bridges along the river — and threw it to the woman to help her stay afloat.

As Kazich pulled her to a nearby landing, Lamb and another passerby went down to a narrow walkway at river level to pull her out.

“It was just crazy; really crazy,” Lamb said.

Kazich said he didn’t think twice about jumping into action.

“I’m still shaken. The adrenaline rush was unbelievable. … Words can’t explain it,” Kazich said. “You just do it. I don’t know what was going through my head. Like I said, the adrenaline rush was just … my heart was beating, and there’s no time to think. You just had to react.”

Lamb said the woman was very cold when he pulled her out, but she was coherent, and very thankful.

“She was frozen. She really couldn’t say much … but thank you,” he said.

Parsons said the woman was being treated at the hospital.

“Very good outcome,” she said.