White River Yacht Club Indianapolis

IFD Charlie NyeThree boaters rescued a woman from the White River Wednesday evening.(Photo: Charlie Nye / The Star file photo)

Kevin McMahon was on his back porch Wednesday evening when he first heard a woman scream and then saw her flailing in the White River.

The air was a chilly 60 degrees, and the river was pulling the woman toward a dam. The water was high and moving swiftly after the heavy rain.

The woman’s life was in graver danger each passing minute, the 51-year-old Indianapolis man said.

McMahon called 911 and ran down his street, looking for a neighbor whose boat he could use to pull the woman out of the water.

McMahon ran into friend Nick Melvin, who was driving down the street, near 75th Street and College Avenue around 7:45 p.m.

The two ran toward the home of Les Sebring, whose boat was docked nearby down the river.

“I called Les and told him to head for his boat, and we’d be there in a second, ” McMahon said.

The three men jumped in Sebring’s boat just as the woman careened down the river. At that point, she looked like she was unconscious, the men said.

“I grabbed a hold of her hand, and we each handed her to each other to move her back toward the ladder, ” said Melvin, a 29-year-old carpenter.

The men put her in a life jacket and hoisted her in the boat. Her skin was cold and ashen gray, they said. She was wearing black capri pants and a gray shirt.

“She wouldn’t have lasted more than 15 minutes, ” Sebring said.

It is unclear how she fell into the water and where she entered the river.

The Indianapolis Fire Department, which arrived as the men pulled the woman out of the water, said the woman was in her 60s or 70s.

She regained consciousness but was dazed, the men said. She couldn’t tell them her name or where she lived.

“The only things we heard from her were, ‘What happened?’ and, ‘I’m cold, ’” McMahon said.

Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said the woman was taken to the hospital in good condition. Reith did not release more information about the woman.

Reith said the men retrieved the woman from the water within minutes of spotting her in the river.

“The quick actions of these men clearly saved this woman’s life, ” Reith said.

The men live near the river, and Sebring and McMahon are members of the White River Yacht Club.

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