Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Woman rescued after car plunged into lake




By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MOUNT HEALTHY — Water rescue units spent more than 45 minutes Monday night freeing a woman whose car apparently slid off an on-ramp to the Ronald Reagan Highway in the rain, slid through a fence and landed in the lake of an apartment complex.

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Rescuers carry Deborah Mason to an ambulance.
(Malinda Rackley photo)
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Colerain Fire Lt. Ed Crawford talks with a diver about how to get the car out of the lake.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
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        “I heard it splash,” said Lance Simpson, who lives in the Lake of the Woods Village apartments.

        “The car slid down and went through the fence and into the water. I heard the lady crying.”

        The woman, Deborah Mason, 47, was taken to Franciscan Hospital-Mount Airy, where she was listed in good condition.

        Four fire and water rescue units blocked the highway's westbound on-ramp with heavy equipment at about 7 p.m. One bystander said he watched as rescuers made their way through the icy water to open the car door.

        “They hoisted her out with a rope and a raft-like contraption,” said Tom Davis of Carthage, who had been on his way to a store.

        “When they got her out she was yelling, "Cold!' It was a good thing she was hollering.”

        Rescuers said that the water was about 34 to 36 degrees and that it seeped into more than half the car, at about the woman's thigh level.

        “The car was pretty stable because of the ice,” said Ron Stenger, Colerain Township firefighter.

        Ms. Mason tried to stay out of the frigid water by bracing herself on top of the car's seats and the dashboard.

        “We had to convince her to get out,” Mr. Stenger said.

        Dave Simonson, another Colerain firefighter, said he and a few others had been getting ready for cold-water rescue training when the call came in.

        “Some of our ice rescue equipment was all ready to go to the training site and we had instructors there,” he said.

        “The water was only maybe three or four feet deep,” Mr. Simonson said.

        “She really was pretty calm until we got her on the board,” Mr. Simonson said.

        “She didn't like the cold water on her back.”

       



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