U of Minn. rowing team rescues woman in Mississippi River

Members of the University of Minnesota women's rowing team and their coaching staff helped rescue an injured woman from the fast-moving Mississippi River Wednesday morning.

Coach Wendy Davis said the team was practicing near the Minneapolis Rowing Club, rather than their usual practice area nearer to the University, because the current was calmer there. Davis was in a motorboat shortly after 7 a.m. when she saw the woman waist-deep in the water, holding on to a tree.

"She wasn't waving at all; I almost passed her by," Davis said. "We called out to her to ask if she needed help, and she said, 'Yes.'"

Davis and the two athletes with her in the motorboat were able to assist in the rescue.

"I tried to reach her from the upstream side but the current was too strong and I couldn't control the motorboat, so we threw her a life jacket and then swung along downstream," Davis said. "The athletes helped clear the way, then they held onto the tree and helped her get to the motorboat."

With the help of assistant coach Peter Morgan, the team was able to pull the woman to the Minneapolis Rowing Club dock, where she was met by paramedics. Davis said she was "clearly very injured and very fatigued."

A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the woman is from Minneapolis. They're not releasing her identity.

"The river's not safe, so thank goodness we were in motorboats that can handle things, and that our athletes are strong and fit and knew what to do," Davis said. "It all worked — thank goodness."

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.