Carrick 5/17/98 Cheney Lake Boating
Canoeist Revived After Drowning
By Rachel D'oro, ADN 5/15/98
An Anchorage man was revived Thursday night after spending 20 minutes underwater in frigid Cheney Lake.
People who saw a canoe overturn in the south end of the Muldoon lake quickly saved Donovan Carrick's companion, Jason Green, 23. However, Carrick went under before anyone could reach him. Anchorage Fire Department divers, directed by people on the shore, pulled him from the water as the stunned crowd watched.
Carrick, 23, wasn't breathing when paramedics rushed him to Alaska Regional Hospital, despite frantic efforts to resuscitate him that began immediately after he was pulled from the water.
Doctors at the hospital, however, got Carrick breathing again, Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Kayle Foster said. She credited his survival to a cold-water phenomenon in which body functions significantly slow when a person is suddenly immersed in icy water.
It was too early to tell if Carrick had suffered brain damage, Foster said. ''He's doing some breathing on his own, which is a very good sign,'' she said.
''It was a picture-book rescue with such an immediate response of the rescuers and witnesses. I think what really worked here is that eye witnesses were able to take our first arriving crews where the young man was last seen.''
Carrick was listed in critical condition late Thursday, a nursing supervisor said.
Carrick and Green were about 75 yards from shore in the canoe when it overturned, police Sgt. Wayne Vance said. Neither of the men was wearing a flotation vest, rescuers said. Green was cold but otherwise unhurt, rescuers said.
Robert Lee had just arrived at the lake and was waiting for his wife to pick him up at 5:30 p.m. when he saw the men hit the water. The two men screamed and tried to swim to shore. Several bystanders ran into the water and swam toward the men, witnesses said. Two others headed out in a small inflatable raft.
Lee ran up to the gathering crowd and shouted for anyone with a cellular phone to call 911. Sarah Hill was among at least three people who put their phones to use.
Hill and her boyfriend, Jim Power, were driving past the lake when they saw two heads bobbing in the water. Power rushed out of the car and plunged into the water as Hill called for help on her phone.
''Everyone wanted to take some action,'' Hill said. ''It's extremely hardto watch somebody go under and not be able to get out there to them.'' Power swam toward Carrick, whose face was visible above the water. Before Power got halfway, the man disappeared under the water. Power turned around.
''I'm not a strong swimmer,'' he said, still shivering a half-hour later. ''On land, I could have walked to him in 20 paces.''
The pair in the inflatable raft reached Green and brought him to shore as police and rescuers began arriving, said Kristin Philemonof, who had been walking along the shore with her sister. Three Fire Department divers on a raft headed for the spot where Carrick had gone under, rescuers said. The divers found him within five minutes. The water at that spot was about 12 feet deep, diver Jeff Dobson said.
Green refused to medical attention, Foster said. ''He said he would change into some warm clothes first,'' she said. ''Then he planned to go to the hospital on his own.''
Victim of canoe accident dies
A 23-year-old man who spent 20 minutes submerged in frigid lake waters died Saturday at Alaska Regional Hospital. Donovan Carrick was in a canoe with a friend on Anchorage's Cheney Lake when the boat flipped Thursday. Bystanders in an inflatable raft reached Jason Green, 23, but Carrick went under before he could be helped, authorities said. Carrick was not breathing when he was pulled from the water but was revived at the hospital and was put on a respirator. Authorities credited the fast work of bystanders and Anchorage fire department divers in retrieving Carrick.