CATHLAMET, Wash. (TheBlaze/AP) — A 911 dispatcher in Washington state called on her own mother to rescue a stranded boater in the Columbia River, knowing she could kayak to the area faster than sending the sheriff’s office patrol boat.
Wahkiakum County dispatcher Raedyn Grasseth told The Daily News it all began when her coworker got a call about 45-year-old kayaker whose kayak sank in a swift current near a jetty.
“Jetties are very dangerous,” Grasseth explained Monday. “The currents around them are horrible. It sounds likes her kayak just got sucked toward the jetty and went down.”
The unnamed woman had originally been with a companion, but was all alone after the companion went to seek help. She was clinging to a log pile in the river, fighting the strong tug of the current.
Grasseth notified the sheriff’s office, but quickly realized her mother, Cindy Faubion, and other members of her family were celebrating Easter dinner nearby and could get there quicker.
“I knew they could be there within five to 10 minutes,” Grasseth recalled.
Grasseth, who has worked as a 911 dispatcher for about 15 years, also comes from a family of strong kayakers. Faubion and several others quickly paddled to the piling in a kayak and a skiff, rescuing the woman from her precarious situation.
According to local reports, she was cold and shaken but did not require medical care. Local authorities say it could have been 30 minutes before they could reach the location, and the extra time may have saved the woman’s life.
Reports indicate she was visiting from out of town, had limited boating experience and wasn’t familiar with the treacherous waters about 30 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River.
“She’s lucky she’s alive, plain and simple,” Grasseth said.
This is the first time Grasseth has called her mother to tackle an emergency 911 call.
KATU2-TV has more on the story: