Letter From Peter Tracy

I write today to thank and recognize your employees who saved my life on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.

That afternoon, I was fishing on Rattlesnake Lake in my canoe. It was the third time I have fished there this year. I reached behind my seat for my fly rod, the boat tipped left, water rushed in and I was in the water. Fortunately, I always wear a personal flotation device, so I didn’t feel any panic. I righted the boat, and my plan was to bail as much water out of the boat as possible and then swim it to shore, about 100 yards away.

Bailing was difficult and slow. I had two, 20-pound anchors down on 40 feet of line and had to pull them up. I tried to swim hanging on to the boat with one hand and using various kicks and one-armed strokes.

It was a beautiful day, sunny, no wind and around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I knew the water temperature was 50 degrees, but I didn’t feel cold. I noticed two people on the shore I was trying to reach. I started to get frustrated at not making progress toward the shore, but I kept trying.

Then, I saw flashing red lights at the boat ramp, but there was no boat on the way. The people on shore were shouting and waving. The next thing I am aware of is being in the Overlake emergency department, shaking uncontrollably, with nurses all around me working to warm me up. I was told later my core body temperature at that point was 87 degrees. I had been in the water roughly one hour when the EMTs pulled me out.

My profound gratitude goes to the men and women who saved me—from the people on shore who called 911 to the EMTs with Bellevue Fire Department and the Overlake emergency department staff. Thank you for having these well-trained and caring professionals available to help me.

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