COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A piece of equipment found in every Columbus police cruiser may be the reason one officer is at home recovering from the injuries he suffered during a water rescue.
‘Throw bags’, as they are called, are bright orange bags stuffed with 75 feet of extremely durable rope.
Ideally, officers said they are used by holding on to one end of the rope and throwing the bag past a victim struggling in the water.
This allows the victim to grab the rope and be pulled ashore.
On Monday, however, 6-year-old Merlin St. Germain was found unresponsive in a north Columbus pond.
In response, Officer Randall Lyons tied the rope around his waist.
Ofc. Deb Paxton said she and Lyons attached the rope to a stable post, and she held the rope as Lyons tried walking on the ice to reach the boy.
The ice broke and Lyons fell into the water.
According to Paxton, she and a bystander used the rope to pull Lyons to safety.
Despite falling unconscious, he was taken to the hospital.
He was later released and is now resting at home, according to a police department spokeswoman.
Two fellow officers demonstrated how the throw bags work, for NBC4.
Both said they believe the bag is the reason Lyons is now safe.
“He did what he had to do and he went out there,” said Ofc. Tom Armentrout. “I think this rope saved his life.”
According to Ofc. Devin Cooper, every rope can hold up to 3,000 pounds.
“It’s just another tool that we have to help the community, and help people that need our help,” he said.
Both Armentrout and Cooper said they would not hesitate to use the bag, if necessary.
“That’s what we’re out here to do,” said Armentrout. “We’re here to protect the citizens so if that’s what I felt I had to do, I wouldn’t even think twice. I’d go do it.”