The Calgary Fire Department (CFD) says a Good Samaritan who pulled a man from the water at North Glenmore Park on Tuesday will be recommended for an award.
Margaret Bell, a mother of two, was out for a morning run in the southwest park at around 7 a.m. when she noticed an empty boat near the shore.
“I saw the boat, I thought it was a beaver bobbing in the water and I got closer and noticed it was a person floundering in the water — going under and coming up,” Bell told Global News. “I said, ‘Oh wow, I better go.”
Bell went into the water and pulled the man to shore.
“I can swim and I know how to save someone,” Bell said. “I didn’t hesitate.”
“I got to him; he was very tired and hypothermic. Before I did get to him, he did go under and I prayed he would come back up and he did. I said, ‘Hang on to my sweater and get on your back, I am going to pull you in.”
She then ran up a nearby pathway and flagged down a cyclist who called 911. The cyclist stayed on the pathway to direct first responders while Bell ran back down to be with the man.
Fire crews said the man was breathing and conscious when they arrived on scene, however not completely lucid. EMS said the man was transported to the Rockyview General Hospital in stable, non-life-threatening condition as a precaution to be treated for mild hypothermia.
Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Carol Henke said Bell will be recommended for a Calgary Fire Department Beyond the Call award by the fire crew that attended.
“Fire crews can nominate citizens that really have exceeded expectations for helping at a scene – perhaps even put themselves in danger,” she explained. “That is an annual luncheon that we invite people to, to highlight their contribution and what they’ve done.”
“I think she saved his life,” Henke said. “He is very, very fortunate that this woman was so astute and keen on finding out why that boat was there.”
“She really went above and beyond.”
“This gentleman is really lucky that she did what she did,” Henke added.
In a news release, the CFD said the boat initially found near the shore didn’t belong to the man and it’s unclear if he is connected to it in any way.
“The circumstances and timeline on how he came to be in the water are unclear.”
Bell said she asked the man if he rented the boat but he said he found it.
“I asked, ‘Were you out there all night?’ And he said yes.”
Calgary police said the man told them he was swimming and got tired.
Bell acknowledged some people may not have stopped if they were in her shoes, but said she knew she could do it.
“I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself if I didn’t help.”