CPD officer saves child, 8, mother in river rescue

Photo by Mike Wolanin | The Republic A Columbus Police Department squad vehicle with new updated vehicle wrap.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A woman and her daughter are safe after a Columbus Police Officer swam them to safety from the East Fork White River near Mill Race Park.

At 1:42 p.m. Saturday, local first responders were called to a water rescue at Mill Race Park near Fifth and Lindsey streets. There was reportedly a woman yelling for help in the water.

Officer Andrew Plank was the first to arrive just two minutes after being dispatched. He was directed to a sandbar area near the river. He saw a woman and child holding onto a fallen tree in the river. The woman was yelling that she couldn’t hold on much longer.


Without hesitation, Officer Plank took off his body armor vest and duty belt and went into the water. Officer Plank swam out to the fallen tree and retrieved the child first, who was 8 years old. He swam the child to the bank of the river with her on his back. He then went back and helped the woman from the tree to the bank, as well.

After gathering more information, it appears two children had been playing on a sandbar in the river, but ended up in the water. The mother, Charity Weis, 34 of Idaville, went into the river to help them, but she and one of the children got caught in the current.
Due to Officer Plank’s immediate lifesaving efforts, everyone emerged from the river safe.

Weis and her child were evaluated by emergency medical services on scene.
The Columbus Police Department encourages anyone in or around a body of water to wear a personal floatation device. The rriver’s current can be deadly even for strong swimmers.