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Wife helps save husband from drowning

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

On the evening of Friday June 6th, William Heidenreich, age 67, of Saint John Indiana was fishing in a small row boat on Mirror Lake just east of Topeka. Heidenreich's boat overturned while he was turning around to row to shore.

William's wife of over 45 years, Roberta, saw him go into the water and knowing William was a non-swimmer acted fast and grabbed a life vest and a Type IV Coast Guard approved seat cushion. Although a very weak swimmer herself, she put an arm through each floatation device and dog paddled 100 yards out to her husband who had gone under water twice already.

William was about to go under a third time when Roberta reached him and handed him a floatation device. A quick response and action by Orange Township Firefighter Ty Conley allowed him to row a nearby boat to rescue the couple and tow them back to safety at the shore. Although shaken up, the Heidenreichs sustained no injuries. Indiana Conservation Officer Rod Clear responded to, and is investigating the incident.

The quick, decisive and brave actions of Roberta Heidenreich saved her husband's life. The rapid response and rescue by Firefighter Ty Conley saved the exhausted Heidenreich couple. This chain of events exhibits the importance of awareness while recreating on our lakes as well as the necessity of personal floatation devices.

Agencies which responded to the incident include Indiana Conservation Officers, Orange Township Fire Dept., Noble County Sheriff's Dept., Rome City Police Dept., and Paramedics from Parkview Lagrange Hospital.

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