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Water Rescue Update
CHAMPAIGN-- YESTERDAY AFTERNOON POLICE RESPONDED TO A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE COMPLAINT IN NORTH CHAMPAIGN, AND WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT THE SCENE KENNETH BROWN RAN FROM THEM ACROSS TOWN CENTER BOULEVARD, ONTO AN ICY RETENTION POND, AND FELL THROUGH. THAT'S WHEN A DIVE TEAM AND FIRST RESPONDERS WERE CALLED INTO ACTION. KENNETH BROWN SPENT OVER AN HOUR IN THE FRIGID WATER BEFORE BEING REMOVED BY SAFETY OFFICIALS.
JUST AS BROWN FIRST FELL THROUGH THE ICE THE CHAMPAIGN FIRE DEPARTMENT AND ADDITIONAL POLICE OFFICERS WERE IMMEDIATELY CALLED TO THE SCENE. AN ICE SURFACE RESCUE WAS ORIGINALLY PLANNED SINCE BROWN WAS INITIALLY HOLDING ON WITH HIS HEAD AND NECK ABOVE WATER, BUT THE CORNBELT FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT, AN ALL VOLUNTEER, DIVE-CAPABLE UNIT LOCATED IN MAHOMET, WAS CALLED AS SOON AS AN UNDERWATER RESCUE WAS IMMINENT.
LLOYD GALEY, CHIEF OF THE CORNBELT FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT, SAID, "Champaign is trained as a surface rescue team, so once they realized they had a circumstance they couldn't deal with, once the person is below the surface, then they requested that we show up. our team is set up not only for surface rescue but also dive rescue."
POLICE AND FIRE FIGHTERS GAVE VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS TO BROWN TO GIVE HIM THE BEST CHANCE TO STAY ABOVE WATER AS THEY PREPARED THE RESCUE TEAM. ONLOOKERS CALLED OUT TO BROWN AND THE RESCUERS FROM THE PARKING LOT NEXT TO THE POND AND EXPRESSED CONCERN AS THE RESCUE ATTEMPT WORE ON.
CONNIE WILSON WAS A WITNESS AT THE SCENE. "I think it should have been taken care of within the first 10 minutes of their arrival, instead of using some new fancy-fangled equipment."
THE CORNBELT FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT TRAINS FOR BOTH ICE AND OPEN WATER RESCUES. THE RESCUERS WERE IN FACT ONLY A FEW YARDS FROM BROWN AT THE MOMENT HE WENT UNDER THE WATER.
"They are a surface suit, they have a lot of buoyancy to them, and that keeps the fire department member on the surface, they're not meant to dive with," GALEY SAID.
DIVERS CARRIED BROWN OUT OF THE ICY WATER AT A LITTLE AFTER 5:00. DESPITE HAVING SPENT OVER AN HOUR IN THE RETENTION POND IN FREEZING TEMPERATURES, THE EFFORTS TO FIND BROWN YESTERDAY WERE ALWAYS DEEMED A RESCUE AND NOT A RECOVERY.