Man crosses river to save woman

Not everyone would swim across the frigid Red Deer River to save a stranger, but Keenan Rose didn’t think twice.

Not everyone would swim across the frigid Red Deer River to save a stranger, but Keenan Rose didn’t think twice.

The Red Deer man was walking his dog in Great Chief Park at about 6:25 p.m. on Monday when he heard a scream from across the river.

He saw a woman, who was attempting to climb down a 15-metre cliff on the opposite bank, stumble head over heels and fall into the water.

“She slid down and it was pretty steep . . . at one point, her feet were over her head,” recalled Rose, who didn’t know how hurt the woman was before she hit the river.

“I wasn’t sure if she was fine at the time, and I wasn’t sure she could swim, so I jumped in,” said the 25-year-old carpenter.

He first handed his dog’s leash to two other passersby to hold.

The river was extremely cold, but Rose said it wasn’t flowing too fast — which was good, since he doesn’t consider himself an overly strong swimmer.

Although the water level was almost shallow enough to walk across until about halfway, he said the river bottom then dropped off sharply until the depth was over his head.

The 37-year-old woman was conscious when he reached her and didn’t try to fight him or drag him down. Rose said, “I guess she was co-operative” as he pulled her to shore.

He believes some teenagers who witnessed her fall called 911.

Once on the opposite bank, a shivering Rose stayed with the woman for what seemed a very long time before rescuers arrived. Since she could have suffered a concussion, he said he thought it best to stay and talk to her so she didn’t lose consciousness.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I waited until the fire department came.”

Rose finally saw an emergency worker rappel down the cliff, while other Red Deer Emergency Services rescuers launched a boat into the river.

The woman ended up being saved by boat in a two-hour effort that involved 14 EMS personnel and some RCMP officers.

This was found to be easier than trying to bring her back up the embankment.

She was transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and treated for minor injuries. Alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor to the fall, which happened near Warwick Avenue in West Lake.

Rose’s father-in-law, Brock Brown, considers Rose a hero for risking his life by swimming across the river to save someone. “He was almost hypothermic from the swim. Personally, I think he deserves a medal.”

But Rose doesn’t believe he did anything special or heroic. “I just went across and gave her a hand. I was pretty confident there were no safety concerns for myself.”

He called the woman’s attempt to climb down the steep embankment foolhardy and dangerous. “She was really lucky” that she wasn’t badly hurt or killed, he said.

Ted Hickey, deputy fire chief with Red Deer Emergency Services, commended Rose for taking such “terrifically” quick action, and for safely getting across the river to save the woman.

“It’s incredibly heart warming . . . to see that people in Red Deer care about their neighbours and are willing to provide assistance to people in need.”

The department will look into whether Rose’s actions could be considered for a bravery award.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Satnam Singh Sandhu, 42, was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter on Friday in Red Deer Court of Queens Bench. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake man sentenced to six years for choking his wife

Satnam Singh Sandhu pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Some workers are terrified at the prospect of returning to work at Olymel, where hundreds were infected with COVID, says a worker.
Advocate file photo
Second death linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Health confirms

A second death has been linked to the Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

Canada’s vaccine rollout received a boost Friday with the approval of a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

This image released by Briarcliff Entertainment shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary “The Dissident.” (Briarcliff Entertainment via AP)
US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based… Continue reading

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US strike, first under Biden, kills Iran-backed militiaman

BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a… Continue reading

Conservative member of Parliament Michael Cooper holds a press conference as he is joined virtually by fellow members of Parliament, Canadian geriatricians, mental health professionals and Indigenous leaders in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, regarding the Senate amendments to Bill C-7, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Address anti-Indigenous racism in health care before expanding MAID: advocates, MP

OTTAWA — The federal government should not expand access to medical assistance… Continue reading

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Most Read