Search teams look for a man who tried to save a naked woman who had jumped into the freezing water of the Ohio River in Kentucky and is believed to have drowned during his efforts Thursday. Photo courtesy WLKY
Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A man who tried to save a naked woman who jumped into freezing and "turbulent" water of the Ohio River in Kentucky is believed to have drowned during his efforts, authorities said.
Louisville Fire Maj. Bobby Cooper said police and rescuers were dispatched around noon Thursday after receiving reports that a naked woman acting "erratically" and had jumped into the river near the city's Historic Wharf, the Courier-Journal in Louisville reported.
One man who witnessed the woman jump dove in after her in a desperate bid to save the woman's life but ultimately drowned in the water's swift current, officials said. It was not immediately clear why the woman was naked and what her mental condition was before jumping in the river.
On Friday, numerous witnesses recounted watching the events unfold to local news outlets, noting that they saw the man fighting for his own life in the current before going under the water's surface.
Anthony Slowinski told WLKY that he saw the woman running "stark naked" down a hill by Sixth Street and River Road before she ultimately jumped into the Ohio River.
"She runs across river road without hesitation, goes over the cement barrier to the bike path," Slowinski said. "I figured she was going to run down the bike path, but she keeps going, goes over the metal railing and then jumps straight into the river."
Zach Berry, a personal injury attorney, said he saw the events unfold from the window of his office and rushed downstairs with another lawyer at the firm to try to help the woman.
"It was almost like she was in a trance," Berry told the Courier Journal. "She didn't acknowledge the man trying to help her. She walked like a robot."
Berry said his colleague, attorney David Lambertus, asked the man if he was a good swimmer before he jumped in and the man said that he was, taking off his own clothes to dive into the cold water.
The lawyers told the Courier Journal that they saw the woman swim "incredibly far" downstream.
The turbulent conditions of the water limited rescue crews from multiple agencies to searching the surface and those efforts were stopped after two hours, WHAS reported Thursday. Recovery efforts were expected to resume when conditions permitted, and it was not immediately clear if the victims' bodies had yet been recovered.
United Press International has reached out to the Louisville Metro Police Department for more information and additional comment.