Ethel Woodger laughs with Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell Tuesday May 9, 2017, at Mayor Duggan's office in Detroit. Woodger, pregnant at the time, was rescued when Gadwell jumped into the Detroit River to save her on April 17 after she fell in while fishing. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell tells the gathering, “When she started going under at that point, I had to jump in, and it was cold,” Gadwell said. “Before that night, I used to think I could swim in that water. I’ll never say that again.” Gadwell said he wrapped his legs around Woodger and grabbed onto a piece of rebar sticking out of the seawall. His legs then turned numb from the cold, and he started to slip.
“That’s when I looked at my partner. I was like, ‘I’m going in. I can’t hang on no more,’” he said. “He jumped in and saved me." Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Ethel Woodger, 34, of Detroit, smiles while sitting next to Detroit Police Chief James Craig. She said, “I’m so grateful and blessed to have all of you good Samaritans and good police officers, firefighters and boat captains,” she said. “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate everything you guys did." Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Jeff Calloway hugs Ethel Woodger. Calloway was the first to see her in the water and helped contact rescue personal. Calloway was fishing about a block away and felt he should check on the woman he spotted earlier. “I got that inner spirit, that voice that said, ‘Don’t leave until you make sure that sister is out of this park because the park was actually closed.'” Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Chris Ward, from Hart Medical EMS, also arrived on scene and jumped in the water to help. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Ryan Gazdecki, JW Westcott boat captain, speaks about his role in the rescue. Gazdecki saw the struggle in the water and drew near to toss a life preserver to them.
Medic Chris Ward said he got Woodger’s head and arms in the preserver, and the captain was able to pull everyone over to the boat and out of the water. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Ethel Woodger holds up clothes for her baby Ejean that were a gift from Detroit police and fire personnel. Pregnant at the time she fell into the icy waters of the Detroit River while fishing at night, her son was safely delivered by C-section soon after she was pulled from the water and rushed to the hospital that night. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell hugs Ethel Woodger during the press conference. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
“I just want to thank everybody — everybody that participated in rescuing me, especially the arms because those arms are angels’ arms,” Ethel Woodger said, referring to the arms of Detroit Police officer Brian Gadwell, who helped rescue her from the Detroit River on April 17 after she fell in. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks during a press conference for a reunion gathering between first responders and Ethel Woodger Tuesday May 9, 2017, at the mayor's office in downtown Detroit. Bryan Mitchell, Special to Detroit News
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