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Racine non-profit donates rings just in time to save a woman's life

Posted at 8:30 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 09:30:16-04

RACINE — A piece of equipment was installed in Racine just in time to save a woman’s life. A near drowning happened at the south pier Tuesday afternoon. It was just two weeks after a non-profit, Salmon Unlimited, installed life rings.

“She was actually going underwater and not coming up as well,” said Jim LaFortune, board member for Salmon Unlimited.

The Racine Fire Department said it was called to help a woman who was drowning. But by the time they arrive, some bystanders had already jumped into action and threw her a life ring.

“They said she was about 40 yards out, so they just had enough rope. So she was far enough that there wasn’t anything else they would have been able to do,” said LaFortune.

The rings were donated by Salmon Unlimited, a club that promotes water safety and fishing.

“Last year, during our fishing contest a youth fell in but was rescued,” said Jim Poplawski, vice president of Salmon United.

The club bought five life rings but says it took months working with the city and county before the equipment was installed.

It was just in time to save the woman who had struggled to swim in the frigid Lake Michigan waters.

“The day we dedicated them we hoped they never (would) be used,” said Poplawski.

“It just went just as it was designed to do, and we are very grateful. We are very happy that she got to go home to her loved ones and we were a part of that,” said LaFortune.

The fire department said the woman was taken to the hospital to be checked out because the water is cold enough still to cause hypothermia. Her condition is not known.

Salmon Unlimited hopes to put more rings up on piers across Wisconsin.