Helper family saves woman from river
The only thought on the Cohoe children's minds the afternoon of June 18 was how to keep a woman from drowning in the Price River and at the July 3 city council meeting they were honored for their heroism.
Patricia,12, Theodore, 13, Patchy, 14, and cousin Mathew,11, Cohoe were out for a day of fishing when a turn of events ended up with them being deemed heroes by the City of Helper.
"Patchy thought it was a fisherman in the water," Theodore said. "Then the person started yelling for help."
Patchy said he waited for Theodore and ran back to tell their mom someone was is in trouble.
"They yelled there's a lady drowning," Darlene Cohoe said. "That's when my older son (Zili 20) went running."
The whole family except dad Patchy Jr. headed to where the woman was caught in the current calling for help. Darlene said she then ran back to call 911 and the children came to the woman's aid.
"Patchy, Theodore and Patricia were in the water holding her and said she kept slipping," Darlene said. "They said her feet were bleeding."
According to Darlene, the children kept trying to get the woman out of the water and couldn't because the woman kept slipping and was hysterical.
"She kept yelling 'help me don't let me drown,'" Darlene said.
Darlene said that the whole incident was somewhat strange as the woman's reactions were all over the place.
"It seemed a little bit odd," Darlene said. "She would be all hysterical and then just calm right down and start asking questions.
Like when the woman, who was never identified, was clinging to Patricia.
"She kept asking me 'does anybody here like her,''' Patricia said. "I told her yeah."
Then the woman started yelling wanting to know if Darlene's husband was coming. When Darlene said no that the police were coming she said the woman screamed back that she didn't want the police she wanted Darlene's husband.
"I was like 'why does she want my husband?'" Darlene said.
The Cohoe children stayed in the water until the police and firefighters arrived. They held on to her while the rescue workers got a rope around her and then pulled her out of the water.
In the letter of commendation presented to the Cohoes at last Thursday meeting it states "On this date (June 18) a mentally confused woman walked away from the hospital in Price. She eventually ended up in Helper and in the Price River."
"We have no clue how she ended up here," Helper Police Chief Trent Anderson said in a phone interview Monday morning.
Anderson said that what the Cohoes were able to do was amazing given the level of the water and the speed of the current.
"When we got there they had her against a rock," he said. "When we got into the water it was chest deep and moving really fast."
Given the conditions, the rescue by the children was extraordinary as they had to cross the river to get to the woman.
"This was really impressive," he said. "They risked their own lives to save a stranger."
Despite significance of their act the Cohoe children were shyly humble as they talked about the incident. In fact the information had to be coaxed out of them as they gathered in front of the Helper auditorium Saturday morning.
"It was just a normal thing to do," Patchy said when asked what he was thinking and why they did what they did.
In addition to the letter of commendation by Anderson, the whole family received passes to the Helper pool, where they were excitedly waiting to go after the interview Saturday morning.
True to form, the main thing the family was wondering about Saturday was the condition of the woman.
"We want to know if she is alright," Darlene said.
According to Anderson, the woman was fine after she was pulled from the water and was sent up to Provo where she could receive help.