A Washington state 911 dispatcher sent her own mom to save a tourist in distress this week, a decision that proved successful and possibly saved a life.
Raedyn Grasseth, a Wahkiakum County 911 dispatcher, received an emergency call on Sunday concerning a female tourist. The woman was boating when her kayak suddenly sank, leaving her clinging to a jetty in the Columbia River. The quick-thinking operator realized that her mother, who lives near the spot, could reach the tourist faster than emergency personnel.
According to Grasseth, the 45-year-old tourist was boating with a companion when her kayak was swept away in the current. Fortunately, the woman was able to grab onto a nearby jetty piling as her friend raced for help.
“Jetties are very dangerous. The currents around them are horrible,” the 911 dispatcher explained. “It sounds likes her kayak just got sucked toward the jetty and went down.”
Following standard protocol, Grasseth alerted the local sheriff’s department about the emergency as soon as the call was received.
However, the 911 dispatcher also decided to send her mom, Cindy Faubin, in an attempt to rescue the tourist from the freezing waters as quickly as possible.
Grasseth felt her mom — an experienced kayaker — could reach the stranded woman within minutes, much faster than the time needed to secure a rescue crew and dispatch a sheriff’s patrol boat.
Employing the use of a kayak and skiff, Cindy Faubin — accompanied by members of her family — quickly made her way to the stranded tourist. The woman, whose name has not been released, was successfully rescued and returned safely to land.
According to authorities, the tourist escaped the ordeal without injury and was merely shaken by the experience. Police have speculated that the woman suffered a lack of boating experience and was unfamiliar with the rough waters commonly found in that section of the river.
What do you think about a 911 dispatcher sending her own mom to rescue a stranded tourist? According to Grasseth, “She’s lucky she’s alive, plain and simple.”