CHESAPEAKE CITY — Officials are crediting a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer with rescuing a suicidal woman after she jumped off a pier into the Bohemia River near Chesapeake City, the agency reported on Monday.
Police reported that NRP Ofc. Jacob Gerczak, a five-year veteran, was patrolling in the Chesapeake City area at approximately 5:20 p.m. on Oct. 31, when he noticed a woman standing at the end of a pier overlooking the Bohemia River — a scene that registered odd to him.
Moments later, the woman jumped from the pier into the river, police said. Gerczak darted out his patrol vehicle and sprinted to the end of the pier, where he could see that the woman’s head was barely above water, that her eyes were shut and that she was struggling to breathe, police added.
Gerczak sprung into action.
“In full uniform, (Gerczak) immediately dove into the rough waters of the Bohemia River. And as he swam closer to the woman and grabbed hold of her, she told him she no longer wanted to live. Gerczak was determined to save her from making a disastrous decision,” an NRP spokesperson outlined.
While in the cold water at high tide for about 15 minutes, Gerczak reminded the woman that her family and friends did not want anything tragic to happen to her and that he, too, wanted her to live and that he was there to help, according to police.
Holding the woman, Gerczak swam back to the pier and then removed her from the water, police said. As the woman became more aware of what had just happened, police added, she started to cry.
“He continued to comfort and communicate with her until local emergency personnel arrived to provide her with medical attention,” the NRP spokesperson said, adding that Gerczak is grateful that he was “at the right place at the right time to save a life.”
NRP Col. Adrian Baker recognized Gerczak for his heroic effort, commenting, “We are fortunate to have selfless officers in our agency that would put their lives on the line to save others. I commend Officer First Class Gerczak for his selfless and swift action that literally saved a woman’s life.”