River rescue: Woman did ask for 911 help

'I want the lady who did the rescue to know that her message was heard'

Jason Hewlett / Kamloops Daily News
January 9, 2013 01:00 AM

A 911 phone call for help was made soon after a woman walked into the South Thompson River with the intent to kill herself, the man who made the call said Wednesday.

"I want the lady who did the rescue to know that her message was heard," said Bill Harrison.

Harrison contacted The Daily News after reading a story in Wednesday's edition about how Colleen Mulrey rescued a distressed woman from the river.

In the story, Mulrey said she asked an elderly woman to phone 911 prior to heading into the water herself. Mulrey told The Daily News she found it upsetting that the elderly woman made no attempt to phone for help.

Harrison said that's not true. He was walking near the tennis courts Monday morning when a woman walked up to him, told him about the unfolding drama and asked if he had a cellphone he could call 911 with.

Being a couple of minutes walk from Mulrey and the distressed woman, Harrison had no idea if what he was being told was true. But he made the call anyway, he said.

"The guy kept me on the line," said Harrison, adding he told the 911 operator the call was made in good faith.

"I couldn't see what was going on."

The 911 operator kept him on the line for five minutes. At that point, the operator told him a second call about the incident was received.

Mulrey told The Daily News the distressed woman initially didn't want to be saved. It was only after Mulrey asked her repeatedly if she wanted help that the woman in the water agreed. Mulrey swam out and brought the distressed woman to shore.

Mulrey said the elderly woman stood nearby and asked again if she needed her to phone 911.

While walking for help, they came across a man who offered Mulrey his coat and used his cellphone to contact 911.

Harrison said he often sees the elderly woman who approached him in the park but doesn't know who she is. He believes it's important people know she sought assistance as asked.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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