PHILADELPHIA – “Hockey Night in Canada” fixture Ron MacLean was part of a heroic river rescue in the City of Brotherly Love on Thursday.
MacLean was having lunch on a patio by the Delaware River with Don Cherry when a woman with a “heavy French accent” came in and said “help, help there’s someone in the water.”
“There was four or five of us around,” said MacLean, who was taking a break from filming segments for one of Cherry’s “Rock ’em Sock ’em” videos.
“We jump up and I grabbed a velvet rope off one of the dividers they have in the restaurant,” he said.
“I thought that’d be useful to help pull the guy out of the water.”
MacLean said he jumped over a wrought-iron railing they have around the patio and went down to the river.
Another man, “I think the husband or boyfriend … of the woman,” had already jumped into the river to assist.
“He had already stripped down and was just in his underwear and jumped into the water and pulled the man over onto a raft,” MacLean said.
The man had apparently been trying to take his own life.
“His throat was all wrapped up in sort-of clear packaging tape and he had rope around him,” he said.
MacLean said he and a couple of staff from the hotel helped to pull the man from the raft onto the wharf.
“I just reached down with my right arm and two of the staff from the hotel used the velvet rope, then we pulled him up out of the water.”
The person who had jumped in to save the man was able to climb out.
“He’s the guy who saved him,” MacLean added.
Though he heard the man was trying to kill himself, MacLean said man appeared grateful for being saved.
“There was kind of a blur and then there was a lot of commotion,” MacLean said of the incident.
“When I finally get back to Don, he said, ‘Well that’s just great, I was telling a great story about Dave Bolland and you go running off.’ “
—By Peter Cameron in Toronto