Assigned to the 2016 Shoot Out Boat Race at the Lake of the Ozarks last August, Sergeant Dave Echternacht was stationed in the middle of the course with medical personnel. During the race, the Sergeant received word that a driver had lost control of his boat. Traveling at 109 miles an hour, the out-of-control boat approached the responders. As they watched, the craft became airborne and slammed back down on the water. The driver was thrown into the lake.
As the water and debris settled, Sergeant Echternacht saw the boat driver floating face down in the water. The Sergeant acted immediately. He took his boat towards the motionless man. Leaving his patrol vessel, the officer swam to the unconscious man, shifted him onto his back and opened his airway. The crash victim began to respond. He coughed, regained some consciousness and heaved excess water. Very quickly, assistance came to transport the survivor to the hospital. Today, the boater has completely recovered and is working to repair his boat, so he can race again.
The outcome of this event would have been very different if it weren’t for Sergeant Echternacht’s quick actions. Because of his exceptional emergency response and his commitment to safety, Sergeant Echternacht is the 2017 Red Cross Law Enforcement Hero.
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