Sgt. Jim Belmont was lucky: Unable to see anything because it was dark, he grabbed a boat hook and snagged the sweater of the man who was underwater off the Cove Marina 's docks on Monday night. "He really lucked out," Norwalk Fire Deputy Chief Stephen Shay said. "He did a good thing."
The 68-year-old victim was lucky, too; according to Shay and Norwalk Police Sgt. Lisa Cotto, dockworker Tom Wilson was there to hear the splash and see the victim thrash in the cold water before he sank. The victim was also lucky that it was cold, Shea said, because that also helped to save his life.
The victim had fallen off his boat, the Lucky Lady. Wilson was getting ready to go home at 7:45 p.m. when he called 911 and helped to fish the victim out of the water off Calf Pasture Beach.
A fire engine and a fireboat were dispatched, but Belmont was first on the scene. Wilson showed him where the man had gone in, and Belmont took a chance, plunging the boat hook into the water. It grabbed something and, realizing it was the man, they both worked to pull him out.
The victim wasn't breathing. The fire engine arrived, and firemen administered CPR.
"He was maybe two minutes under water," said Shay, who arrived at the scene in a command car behind the fire truck. "He wasn't breathing, they brought him back."
The victim was transported to Norwalk Hospital. Shay has heard he is doing well and said that is because of a phenomenon known as Mammalian Dive Reflex . He said it is the reflex slows the metabolism and diverts oxygenated blood to the heart, lung and brain. The victim wasn't in the water long, so he could be revived.
"Everything was in his favor," Shay said. "The water was cold; the colder it is, the better."
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