Civilians save lawn mower operator from drowning in Bartlett pond

Updated 6/16/2020 7:43 PM

Quick thinking and actions by civilian rescuers saved the life of a man who became trapped under a commercial lawn mower in a Bartlett retention pond Tuesday morning.

Bartlett Fire Protection District officials said they were called to the 1200 block of Humbracht Circle at 7:40 a.m., but by the time they arrived four minutes later, the victim was out of the pond and breathing.


Authorities said a co-worker noticed the machine had slid down an embankment and trapped the man under the water.

The co-worker attempted to free the victim but could not move the lawn mower on his own. He sought the help of employees from nearby Frontline Communications Contracting and Helm Manufacturing, fire officials said.

Craig Greenberg, a foreman for Frontline Communications, said he responded with two other members of his company and two workers from Helm Manufacturing.

He said they were first brought to the scene by the shouting of the victim's co-worker, which sounded more desperate than someone just trying to be heard over the noise of the lawn mower.

The sight of the lawn mower in the water elevated the stress level and got them moving faster, Greenberg said. At first it wasn't clear whether the overturned machinery was the only problem, but in trying to shift it, they quickly spotted the boots of the trapped operator, he said.

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Together, they lifted the riding lawn mower off the victim and pulled him to shore, only to realize he wasn't breathing.

The man had been in the water at least two minutes, Greenberg said. He cleared mud out of the victim's mouth and struck him on the back, causing him to spit up water and start breathing before paramedics arrived.

Paramedics stabilized the man's condition and took him to a nearby hospital, where he is expected to make a full recovery, authorities said.

Bartlett Fire Protection District officials said the quick actions of the employees of Frontline Communications Contracting and Helm Manufacturing saved the man's life.

They also reminded the public of the importance of being trained in CPR.

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