‘Pretty Heroic’: Woman Rescues Man Who Fell Into Water
WESTFIELD — Every day Mia Goot tries to make it down to Barcelona Harbor — an ideal spot to go for a walk or sit by the water and relax.
One such venture Monday evening likely saved the life of another person.
Goot, a town of Portland resident, was at the harbor around 6 p.m. where she witnessed a man feeding the geese and ducks. She often saw the man during her frequent visits.
“It always puts a big smile on my face to watch him,” Goot told The Post-Journal.
However, after turning away “for a minute” on Monday, Goot said she heard a splash in the water.
“I didn’t see him — just saw the geese and ducks fly away,” she said, “but I knew I just seen him. I immediately ran over to where he was, and saw him face down into the water. I was terrified.”
Members of the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department were called to Barcelona Harbor around 6:15 p.m. for a report of a man in the water. Fire Chief Chris Reese said it’s not uncommon for swimmers to become distressed or for others to accidentally fall into the water.
“We’ve had, unfortunately, a few drownings,” Reese said. “It’s a very dangerous lake when we get reports of people falling in and those who are trying to swim from one end to the other. This particular guy, he was just feeding the ducks and went in.”
Goot, who admits she’s not a very good swimmer and was unaware how deep Lake Erie was at the harbor, jumped in to rescue the fallen man.
“I just knew I needed to save this man’s life,” she said.
“I carried him to the the pier and he looks at me and says ‘You saved my life.’ He continued to look at me and say, ‘If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be alive.’ It comes to show that I was made to be there at that time.”
The unidentified man, reportedly a Mayville resident, was transported to the hospital for an evaluation and later released.
“It’s pretty heroic,” Reese said of Goot’s actions. “It doesn’t happen too often. … I think she deserves some credit for doing something outside her comfort zone. I know she was pretty shook up afterward.”
Reese also credited the fire department’s EMS captain, Jamie Jaynes, and Chautauqua County EMS for quick response to the harbor.
Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone also praised the woman’s efforts. “The actions of Mia are just another example of the great community we live in,” he said.
Goot hopes to come across the man again during a future visit. “I will never forget this man and hope someday to meet him,” she said.