Coast Guard rescues woman from Lake St. Clair

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a rescue boat and a helicopter in the course of saving a woman’s life who was “unconscious and not breathing” after being pulled from Lake St. Clair on Saturday.

The Coast Guard credited good Samaritans with participating in the woman’s rescue.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, the type of helicopter that was used in a woman’s rescue on Lake St. Clair on Saturday, June 17.

It was 2:30 p.m. when the Coast Guard station at St. Clair Shores got a mayday alert from the Good Samaritan, who had pulled the woman from the water onto a boat near Munchies Bay. That boat, whose name was not immediately known, was not the boat the woman had been  on, said Lauren Laughlin, spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard. There were "several boats in the area" on a busy Father's Day weekend.

Which boat she started out on and how she got in the water, remain unknown to authorities.

The Coast Guard’s response included a 24-foot boat and a helicopter. The helicopter, an MH-65 Dolphin, arrived first. It lowered a rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 3rd Class John Yank, onto the boat.

The woman began breathing on her own, and became conscious. When the boat arrived, the woman — who the Coast Guard will not identify by name or hometown — and Yank were transferred to the response boat, according to a statement from the Coast Guard. The woman appeared to be in her 30s, Laughlin said.

The work of "several" Good Samaritans was necessary in saving the woman. After she was pulled out of the water and onto a boat, someone on board performed CPR on her, as someone from another boat in the area alerted authorities. The response boat was already in the water when the mayday went out.

"Everyone knew what to do," Laughlin said.

By the time the boat reached shore, the woman lost and regained consciousness again, requiring CPR from Yank and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Roberts.

When the boat landed, the Coast Guard transferred the woman to emergency medical responders, who took her to an area hospital. At last report, she was in stable condition.

When the woman was transferred, she was "alert, responsive and breathing on her own," Laughlin said.

There were 125 reported boating accidents on Michigan waters in 2016, which resulted in 38 deaths and 65 injuries, according to Coast Guard figures. Nationwide, 701 people died in boating accidents in 2016, which was a 12 percent increase from 2015.