Man recounts saving woman from drowning in White River

Keith Smedema jumped in to help woman who fell

INDIANAPOLIS - The man credited with saving a woman's life after she wound up in the White River on Thursday said he wasn't trying to be a hero.

Keith Smedema, of Southport, said he was riding his bike along the White River when he saw a flash of color and then heard something fall into the water.

"Well, I was riding along the river on the east side and I just saw a flash of movement out of my eye and I heard a distant plop in the water," he said. "I went around to investigate it and I saw a woman in the water."

Smedema said the woman didn't appear to be able to swim.

Smedema said he told people nearby to call 911 before jumping from the bridge into the cold water.

"Everything got heavy, my shoes, my pants, my clothing," he said. "And she didn't seem to be able to move much herself."

He got to the woman and held her until first responders arrived to get them out of the river.

"As we were just floundering around, I touched bottom and I felt there was a bottom under my feet," he said. "So I gathered her to stop there and assess the situation."

Both he and the woman were taken to hospitals to be checked out, and they are both OK.

"I wasn't trying to be a hero," Smedema told RTV6. "I know if I wouldn't have done anything, I think the woman probably wouldn't have made it, and that would have made me feel guilty to watch her drown."

Smedema says he is fine and he's looking forward to a celebratory dinner with his family Friday night.

"I get to pick the restaurant, and I get steak tonight," he said. 

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