Two people fell into the fast-flowing and dangerous Minnehaha Creek while intoxicated, setting off a late-afternoon rescue effort with passersby joining law enforcement, authorities said Thursday.
Pulled from the creek near the Minnesota Veterans Home around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday were Anthony C. Bowker, 24, and Litamarie S. Twobears, both of Minneapolis, according to Park Police.
Bowker was hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center. Park Board spokeswoman Dawn Sommers said Thursday that he was in stable condition. Twobears was also taken to HCMC, but Park Police say she was uninjured.
"The water was rapid and had a dangerous current," the police report read. "The people who fell into the water were also found to be intoxicated." Bowker was cited by police for having alcohol in the park, a misdemeanor.
One of the rescuers said he used a downed tree to make his way knee-high into the water, then summoned "everything I had" to pull the woman out of the rushing water and onto shore, where he saw her hyperventilate and pass out.
Dan Allen, 29, of Champlin, was with his wife and their 4-year-old daughter along a stretch of the creek between two bridges, when he heard a woman scream.
"She had fallen down into the water and got caught on a downed tree," he said, referring to Twobears.
Allen responded and saw a man on the tree "trying to pull her in, but he didn't have enough strength."
While making his way on the tree toward Twobears, Allen recalled being "worried about flipping off with the current. It was definitely cruising pretty good. I had to fight to keep my balance there."
Allen said, "I got a hold of her arm, and I pulled her with everything I had." He said another man helped him finish getting Twobears to safety.
He said the task was complicated by the woman being intoxicated. "In her current state, she didn't provide any help," Allen said. "I had to yell instructions to her. At one point, I had both my hands under her to keep her from going under."
The man who fell into the water, whom Allen described as the woman's boyfriend, stayed closer to the shoreline and was pulled out of a more shallow and calmer spot in the creek by Park Police personnel.
"That was my first time ever being down there," Allen said. "My wife has been there before and liked it as a kid."