Rescue was a group effort |

Rescue was a group effort

Dear Editor:Just finished reading the article in your paper how Susan Wheeler “single-handedly” rescued the unidentified man from Ruedi (Aspen Times, July 27). Please let me elaborate.The rescue was a “group effort.” Yes, Susan did swim out to the man, and yes, she “plucked” him out of the water. If it were not for Susan’s quick actions, it may have been a body recovery instead of a rescue. I know, I was there.My husband, Rick Koehler, was the “unidentified paramedic,” and he did not just run into the water “the last 10 feet or so.” He was wearing a life jacket, carrying an extra life jacket for Susan and using a wake board as a floatation device. He helped Susan bring the man to shore. When they reached shore the man was not breathing and there was no pulse.Rick started chest compressions and the man’s fiancée performed mouth-to-mouth. In the meantime, our son Grant called 911 on the emergency phone and I flagged down our friends, Eric and Brandy Smith (school teachers from Eagle), along with their daughter, Kim, (who has been a lifeguard for numerous years), to assist in the rescue. Grant and Rick also had radios so they were able to communicate with each other and with the 911 personnel.As for the three children, I gathered them up and put them in a motor home. I do not know who’s motor-home it was, but the door was open and there were dry towels and blankets to wrap them up in. They were scared, and all they could say was how it was all their fault. I spent the whole time with those children … they were in shock and all I could do was reassure them that it wasn’t their fault.The Thomasville ambulance responded as did the Basalt Fire and Rescue. The man was stabilized and then transported to Aspen Valley Hospital. So there you have it … it was a “group effort” saving this man’s life.Anna KoehlerBlue Lake

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