A Washington dispatcher decided to hold off on sending authorities to an emergency on Sunday, believing that her own mother would react faster than local police.
The Daily News in Longview, Wash., reported Monday that Wahkiakum County operator Raedyn Grasseth sent her own mother, Cindy Faubion, to an emergency call involving two stranded kayakers. Grasseth said a patrol boat would have taken longer to get to the location than her mother, a recreational kayaker.
The two unidentified female callers were boating and kayaking on the Columbia River on Sunday before a tide came in, causing a 45-year-old female to become stranded near a dock in the Cathlamet Channel. The victim hung onto the dock waiting for authorities; Grasseth called the situation critical.
“Jetties are very dangerous. The currents around them are horrible. It sounds like her kayak just got sucked toward the jetty and went down,” Grasseth said. “She’s lucky to be alive, plain and simple.”
Grasseth did contact authorities of the emergency, but not before first contacting her mother, who's a retired nurse, and other knowledgeable kayakers from her family.
“I knew they could be there within five to 10 minutes,” she said, adding that authorities would have taken anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to arrive on scene.
The victim was rescued by Faubion and didn't require medical care.
“Doesn’t surprise me at all,” Grasseth told News Channel 8 in Washington about her mother’s heroic actions. “In this community, they will be out there in a heartbeat. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Grasseth said similar kayaking incidents can be prevented by recognizing that despite the spring season, water temperatures in Washington are still dangerously cold, especially when tides are predicted to occur. The dispatcher said all kayakers and boaters should wear life jackets.