Indiana Conservation Officer Travis Wooley’s quick actions and ability to recognize a person in distress is credited with saving the life of Don Vander Muelen of Brookville this past weekend.
On the afternoon of June 15, Vander Muelen, who was not wearing a life-jacket, and his wife were sailing a small sunfish sailboat on Brookville Reservoir when he was unexpectedly tossed into the water by a gust of wind. Vander Muelen attempted to swim toward his boat but found that the wind was continuing to push the boat away from him.
Vander Muelen began to struggle to stay afloat and later stated that he became exhausted and could see no way out of the situation he was faced with. Wooley, who was on boat patrol, had observed Vander Muelen struggling and responded by maneuvering his patrol boat next to him. Vander Muelen was able to be pulled from the water by Wooley without injury.
Vander Muelen has responded by writing a letter of appreciation for Wooley which states, “Our Father’s Day outing could have ended tragically had it not been for Officer Wooley’s quick actions.”
Indiana Conservation Officers would like to remind all people who enjoy water activities to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life-jacket at all times. Indiana has recorded 26 open water drownings in 2014 with 11 of those victims being less than 18 years of age.
— Daily News