Teenage fisherman reels in praise for dramatic rescue

Jim Day
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Coady MacDougall saved a woman who'd fallen in the water between the Nine Mile Creek wharf and a boat recently.

Coady MacDougall spent a few hours in late October fishing off the Nine Mile Creek wharf.

He and his uncle, Stephen Batchilder, reeled in several mackerel. However, as the 15-year-old MacDougall of Charlottetown notes with a well-earned sense of pride: “That wasn’t the catch of the day.’’

The greatest prize on this warm fall evening was saving a life.

It was close to 8 p.m. when MacDougall noticed a man leaning over the side of the wharf a couple hundred feet from where the teen was fishing.

MacDougall soon discovered the man was trying, unsuccessfully, to reach his wife, who had fallen in the water between a boat and the wharf.

The woman was yelling for help by the time MacDougall was standing on the edge of the wharf next to the woman’s husband.

“She was panicking and she kept saying ‘I can’t swim, I can’t swim,’ and she kept getting water in her lungs,’’ he said.

MacDougall tossed a life ring to the woman, but she was not able to get it around her. She started sinking. She appeared to have slipped from conciousness.

MacDougall, in turn, sprung into action.

“I basically just stripped down to my boxers and jumped in to try to save her,’’ he said.

The woman’s head was completely under water. MacDougall brought it above the water’s surface. He then grabbed the woman in water roughly 10 feet deep and started kicking as hard as he could.

Another man slapped the woman’s face in an attempt to get her to regain consciousness.

MacDougall mustered all his strength that was buoyed by high adrenaline to push the woman out from the water as two other men, including MacDougall’s uncle, pulled the woman out.

When MacDougall got out of the water and back on the wharf, the woman and her husband showered him in gratitude.

“They just couldn’t stop saying ‘thank you’, hugging me and saying ‘thank you,’’’ he said.

MacDougall was not much worse for wear after spending 10 or 15 minutes in the cold water. His glasses had remained on and he was still chewing the gum that was in his mouth when he plunged into the water.

“I was a little chilled,’’ he said.

“I just kind of pumped the heat up in the truck.’’

The dramatic rescue was brought to The Guardian’s attention by MacDougall’s proud neighbor Lisa Bennett.

“I thought this was remarkable what he had done,’’ said Bennett.

“It showed character that he thought about someone else other than himself. He saw someone in distress and reached out to help.’’

MacDougall says the day after he saved the woman, he couldn’t help thinking what might have been had he not been there and if nobody else jumped into the water in his stead.

“It just makes me wonder about things - just a strange feeling,’’ he said.

“Everything must happen for a reason, I guess.’’

Geographic location: Mile Creek, Charlottetown

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  • Marie
    November 14, 2012 - 09:57

    Coady...you should be very proud of yourself for your selfless act of courage. To your parents...you have obviously raised a wonderful young man who is not afraid to put the needs of others before his own. Fantastic story...Coady needs some special recognition PEI !!!

  • Anita MacDougall
    November 13, 2012 - 11:52

    Coady was raised to be respectful of others and like his father, would give you the shirt off his back or the last dime in his pocket if it could help. They are a family that earns their livelihood living off the water and they also taught him excellent survival skills. Praise to Coady for his brave efforts as well as his parents for a wonderful job with their son. Another uncle of Coady's was in the same position to rescue a loved one a year and a half ago - they sure are a handy family to have around!!

  • ricky ricardo
    November 13, 2012 - 09:39

    Congratulations and thank you to Coady. Saving a life is the greatest thing one can do. I am certain he will have a bright future ahead.

  • Julie
    November 12, 2012 - 21:06

    Wonderfull young man....What a great selfless act to do...so nice to hear this kind of story...I hope so many wonderful things come your way Coady!

  • grumpie
    November 12, 2012 - 20:55

    this young gentleman, is indeed a hero, there has to be a medal for this kind of bravery, thank you Coady.

  • Leitha MacDougall
    November 12, 2012 - 17:45

    Very proud of my grand-son Coady. I think he deserves the Order Of Canada!

    • Eleanor Doucette
      November 12, 2012 - 21:58

      I've known this young man since he was a baby and would like to congratulate Coady and also his parents...Ricky and Stacy for raising such a fine boy! Coady you are an exceptional young man and it's a pleasure to know you personally ! I hope you realize that YOU were her Guardian Angel on that day ...God Bless you!

    • Romeo Gallant
      November 13, 2012 - 07:00

      Good on ya Coady. You have given me another reason to brag about being from PEI. That ENTIRE family is smiling because their loved one is still alive

  • Anne
    November 12, 2012 - 13:18

    What a brave young man. His parents must be extremely proud of him; the woman he rescued and her husband will be eternally grateful that he was there on the wharf that fateful day. God bless you Coady!!

  • Kelly Arsenault
    November 12, 2012 - 12:54

    WOW....That must have been so scary for all involved! Well done Coady! That is unbelievable bravery. I am so glad this story was shared and i am going to share this on my facebook for all my friends and family to see! You did a great thing. You can look at the what ifs, but it will only bring you down. Live up that moment of selflessness and enjoy all of the good you deserve! Also a great job to all else who helped save her, as they too should not go unnoticed! :O)

  • Joe Walsh
    November 12, 2012 - 11:27

    Great job guys.........especially you Coady MacDougall...........You certainly should be honoured for your quick thinking that possibly saved a life.

  • Good Job
    November 12, 2012 - 11:01

    Great story and a great young man. Note to teens and all people. Put down your cell phones and help people out. Nice to see a positive story about teenagers with all that we hear of bullying and teenage apathy. Good job Coady!

  • Sylvia
    November 12, 2012 - 10:41

    Coady, good for you. I think you've got a great future ahead of you.

    • Randy holland
      November 12, 2012 - 19:53

      Very best , what a journey of courage. We have to take pride in the new generations and there abilities. Coast Gusrd has oppurtunity for young students and good direction.all accessible on line. Thumbs up to you Coady.