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‘Intense experience:’ Bartender, yacht club members rescue woman from lake

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MILWAUKEE -- The body of a woman was pulled from Lake Michigan by a bartender and members of South Shore Yacht Club. Once on the dock, the group had limited time to try and save her.

An unresponsive woman was floating in the water Tuesday night. She was spotted by two members and the bartender on shift at the yacht club in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood.

The woman's kayak had overturned. Jim Kelly ran out to find the bartender, Parker Gaitens, in the water pulling the woman to the dock.

"Each of us pulled a shoulder of the life jacket she was wearing and pulled her out," Kelly said.

Kelly felt a pulse.

"I thought, I just hope I remember enough CPR to rescue someone," Kelly said.

South Shore Yacht Club, Milwaukee

But the situation got worse.

"She was making gurgling noises. We turned her over and let that drain out and there was a quite a bit of water," Kelly said.

Minutes felt like hours until first responders arrived and rushed the woman to the hospital.

"It was a really intense experience," Kelly said.

Jerry Kedziora

"Talking with some of the first responders, she had a strong pulse and was breathing," said Jerry Kedziora, Commodore of South Shore Yacht Club.

Days after the incident, Kedziora is left feeling...

"Extremely proud. We're a very warm, close club. A lot of personal relationships," Kedziora said.

The condition of the woman remains unknown. An update was not available on Friday, Sept. 21.

"It is hard to put out of your mind. I really hope she's OK," Kelly said.

The yacht club wants to start a CPR class for members and staff. They also want to submit the names of those involved in the rescue for a life-saving award.

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