Firefighters save teen from underneath Thomas Street Bridge - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters save teen from underneath Thomas Street Bridge


It's the type of call firefighters say is always difficult.

"You have somebody holding on for dear life," said Lt. Mike Tulisaari of the Wausau Fire Department.

Wausau fire officials say a teenage girl was swimming Sunday night near Oak Island when she was pulled by the water's current. She was reportedly trying to get to a sandbar.

"This time of year the water is cold and it's very hard to beat that current," said Battalion Chief Paul Czarapata.

When firefighters arrived, they say the girl was under the Thomas Street Bridge, hanging on.

"We had someone getting a throw bag ready, we had a man in suit ready to go and we were getting the boat ready. Fortunately, it was the throw that got her rescued," Czarapata explained.

Firefighters say the teenager was not hurt, but she was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Officials say this incident serves as a good reminder about the dangers of swimming.

"For the next few weeks that current is really high. Normally the sandbar is knee deep, ankle deep, now it's probably 6 ft deep," Lt. Tulisaari explained.

That's why, he says swimmers should stay out of the river until the water settles down.

"To swim I'd pick places like man-made lake right now where there's no current until the water gets lower, the river is pretty dangerous."

Still, they know people will want to jump in as the weather gets nicer, but firefighters say just do it safely.

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