WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – On Monday, the Wilbraham Select Board honored Wilbraham Police Officer Mark Harris for saving a life at the Red Bridge Canoe Launch area.
A report of two people entering the water on an inflatable raft was received by Officer Mark Harris at approximately 6:48 p.m. on July 14, 2023. As a result of recent heavy rains in the area, the calling party was particularly concerned about the couple’s safety, since river conditions were particularly dangerous due to high water levels.
The couple was located floating in the river near the intersection of the two spillways from the hydro dam. When the raft began to float away, the man jumped overboard in an attempt to swim the raft to shore. Due to the strong current, he became entangled in the raft’s anchor and was pulled underwater.
While putting aside his own safety, Officer Harris entered the dangerous water conditions and swam out to the couple as they were carried downstream. In reaching the raft, he calmed the man, assisted him in disengaging himself from the anchor, and assisted in pulling the raft to shore. Officer Harris waited with the couple on shore until additional resources were available. Due to his quick actions, no one was injured in this incident.
It is stated in the text of the award, ”Officer Harris displayed great courage in this incident, and his efforts likely saved the man’s life. His actions are commendable, and his efforts are being recognized with this life-saving award from the Wilbraham Select Board, the Wilbraham Police Department, and the residents of Wilbraham. “