Woman rescued from murky swamp

A woman who wandered into a tangled swamp on the West Plains was rescued early today by firefighters and rushed to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

Fire District 10 Chief Nick Scharff said the incident occurred in the pre-dawn hours near the Geiger Boulevard exit on Interstate 90.

An employee from a nearby Denny’s Restaurant, at 3711 S. Geiger Blvd., heard the woman hollering for help while taking a smoke break outside the all-night diner, but he could not locate her. The man called authorities, who dispatched firefighters to the scene at 2:50 a.m.

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Scharff said the woman in her late 40s was tangled in barbed wire and sitting in water up to her neck. She did not respond to questions, so it was unclear how she got into the water, Scharff said.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.

The swamp is near a motel, but it was not known whether the woman came from there, the chief said.

When firefighters arrived, they tried throwing a rope to her, but the woman ignored it. Firefighters then extended a ground ladder to her and pulled her to safety. The operation took about 45 minutes.

The woman’s body temperature had dropped, indicating she was suffering hypothermia.

Scharff said it was not known how long the woman had been in the water before firefighters arrived. A trail of bent and trammeled grass showed the path the woman took getting into the swamp, he said.

He said it was not clear whether the woman was under the influence of alcohol or another substance that may have disoriented her.

Firefighters were not able to identify her. However, the sheriff’s office was involved in the case, which apparently did not involve foul play, Scharff said.

The woman was taken by ambulance to Deaconess Medical Center.