Man dies trying to save woman who jumped into freezing Ohio river

‘It was an absolute tragedy, is what it was’

Gino Spocchia
Monday 17 January 2022 18:45
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<p>A view of the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky </p>

A view of the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky

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A man in his mid 30s has reportedly died while trying to save a woman from downing in the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky.

The man, who has not been named, jumped into the river after passers-by spotted a woman who appeared to be naked, and in the water on Thursday. Temperatures were around freezing.

An attorney who witnessed the incident from his third-floor office told reporters that he had earlier watched the woman walk along the riverfront.

“It was almost like she was in a trance,” said Zach Berry, aged 35, in an interview with The Courier-Journal. “She didn’t acknowledge the man trying to help her. She walked like a robot.”

Mr Berry said he prevented his 73-year-old colleague David Lambertus from diving into the water, while another man who of about the same age appeared at the riverside.

“David looked him in the eye and said ‘Are you a really good swimmer?’ And he said he was,” the attorney said.

While the woman continued to swim and “made it incredibly far,” the man who jumped into the Ohio river in only his underwear went underwater.

“There was no way he could get out there and grab her against her will,” Mr Berry said. “It was horrible knowing you can’t save someone, then watching them die. It was an absolute tragedy, is what it was.” 

His body was not recovered on Thursday and according to WAVE 3 News, neither was the body of the woman, with both persons treated as missing.

Louisville Metro Police Department and Louisville Fire Department were called to the scene and responded.

The Independent has approached the police department for comment.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week

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