Hero DNR Officer Swoops In To Save Would-Be Drowning Victim
By Mike Perleberg
(Brookville, Ind.) – An Indiana Conservation Officer is credited with saving a man’s life on Brookville Lake this past weekend.
Don Vander Muelen, of Brookville, and his wife were on a small sailboat on the lake Sunday afternoon, according to Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Lt. William Browne.
A gust of wind knocked Vander Muelen, who was not wearing a life jacket, into the water. The wind continued to push the boat away from him.
“Vander Muelen began to struggle to stay afloat and later stated that he became exhausted and could see no way out of the situation he was faced with,” said Browne.
Lucky for Vander Muelen, Indiana Conservation Officer Travis Wooley was on boat patrol nearby. He spotted Vonder Muelen, drove his boat up to him, and pulled him safely from the water.
Later, Vonder Muelen wrote a letter of thanks to conservation officers: “Our Father’s Day outing could have ended tragically had it not been for Officer Wooley’s quick actions.”
Browne said the situation shows why all people who enjoy water activities should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life-jacket at all times. Indiana has recorded 26 open water drowning in 2014 with 11 of those victims being less than 18 years of age.