BY MICHELLE MERLIN
— TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Fire Chief Jim Tuller happened to be in the neighborhood when he received a call about a man in the Boardman River near the North Union Street Bridge.
Tuller arrived on the scene Tuesday evening to find a very cold man in the water by the base of the bridge.
“There was a person who was sitting (in) the water in the river up to about his waist,” Tuller said. “We were not able to determine how long he’d been in the river, but based on his skin color and his condition, it had probably been some time, several minutes, anyway.”
The man was suspected to be drunk, Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said.
Tuller did not know whether the man was injured, but said he was worried the man might have hypothermia.
“He was very cold to the touch,” he said.
Rescuers sent the man to Munson Medical Center as soon as he was out of the water.
Tuller suspects the man slipped on the shore and tumbled into the river. He was close enough to the shore that Tuller reached in and pulled him to safety.
A passerby notified authorities of the man by calling 911.
"It’s a good thing that citizens take the time to call for help when it's needed," Tuller said.