A Manitoba woman is being hailed a hero, and rightly so.

While Anna Kochie and her friend, Wryan, were camping over the August long weekend at Wild Oaks near Richer, Man., their turtle watching was interrupted by calls for help, and it was coming from the water.

Rob Paré was metal detecting in water when he found himself in a scary situation. Rob's wife, Patricia, says in a Facebook post that Rob was detecting while wearing a wetsuit and carrying his detector, a scoop, and wearing headphones. 

"He was able to walk around with the water coming up to just his chest. But then, the ground dropped off HUGE," she writes in all caps. "He tried to feel the ground with his scoop to try and push himself back up but there was no ground to touch."

Rob's wetsuit floats, which at first he thought would be helpful. However, the buoyancy of the suit continually forced his face into the water. "Every time he tried to get his face above water his wetsuit pushed his face down into the water," Patricia says. "No matter if he was on his back or on his stomach. So struggling with his wetsuit on his legs, his detector, and scoop in his hands he just dropped his stuff hoping he could find a way to swim but no matter what he tried, he just couldn't get his body to do what he wanted."

Rob was able to call for help and Kochie saw a large group of people nearby, but nobody seemed to be moving toward him. That's when she realized it might be up to her and Wryan to save a life.

Wryan got an inner tube into the water for Kochie to take with her, and she swam out as fast as she could.

Rob was able to hold onto the tube while Kochie got him to shore.

They tried to warm him up while helping him recover from the shock of nearly drowning.

"When we were in the process of helping him, all he could think of were his kids and that he had kids," Kochie recalls.

Rob was reunited with his family and taken to the hospital to be treated.

The rescuers were later tracked down by Rob and his family for an emotional reunion. Kochie says that was when she realized they saved more than one life that day, they saved an entire family.

"We allowed children to continue having a father and this woman to keep having her husband," she says. "Because had we not been there, had we not done that...who knows what could have happened, right?"

Kochie credits her first-aid training for giving her the confidence and skills to respond to the call for help. She encourages everyone to get certified in first aid because you never know when you'll be called on to help save a life.


Written by Judy Peters