Two off-duty Kenosha Sheriff’s Department deputies jumped into live-saving action Sunday afternoon off Simmons Island beach.
At approximately 3 p.m. Sunday, according to a KSD press release, Deputies Kelsey Schwuchow and Christopher Bischoff observed two juveniles drowning and their mother also struggling to swim in approximately nine feet of Lake Michigan water, about 60 yards from shore at Simmons Island.
Without hesitation and despite being off-duty, Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff jumped into Lake Michigan and swam out to the juveniles, risking their own lives in the process. Both juveniles and their mother were saved and successfully brought back to land, where they were cared for by the Kenosha Fire Department.
Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff were at the lake spending time with their families when the incident occurred, according to the release, first spotting the two juveniles in distress out in the water. Risking her own life, their mother had also run into the water, but she was unable to reach them. So Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff jumped in and swam out to the juveniles.
While bringing them to shore, the release stated, Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff, along with the juveniles, began to go underwater. So the deputies briefly broke away from the juveniles to regain their breath and strength before continuing to pull them to shore.
In the process, the release says, the deputies swam past the juveniles’ mother, who was also beginning to drown. Deputy Schwuchow instructed the mother how to float on her back and assured her she’d come back when the juveniles were safely ashore. True to her word, Deputy Schwuchow went back into Lake Michigan to pull the mother safely to shore after the juveniles had been brought in.
Tim Martin, an off-duty KFD Firefighter/EMT who was also speaking with Kenosha Joint Services dispatchers, directed the rescue from the shore. According to the release, Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff battled 3- to 4-foot waves at close intervals, as well as a rip current known to be at that location off Simmons Island.
All involved individuals, including the deputies, were observed at local hospitals and expected to make a full recovery, according to the release.
“Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff represented KSD to its highest standard and went above and beyond their call of duty,” the release stated. “The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department could not be more proud of Deputies Schwuchow and Bischoff and their heroic actions.
“Thank you to all those who assisted. Without everyone’s help, this could have been a very tragic event for many families. Thank you to our dispatchers, Kenosha Police, Kenosha Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard for your assistance. Please remember to observe current swim conditions and adhere to the National Weather Service’s swim risk and beach hazard advisory bulletins.”