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Heroes of the Everyday 2014 No.10 - lifesaver on Lake Constance

The taxi driver at Meersburg harbor. Here happened the misfortune
Photo: Astrid Schmidhuber

He saved a woman from the icy Lake Constance

Winfried Kretzdorn stood with his taxi in the harbor of Meersburg when the disaster happened. Here he describes his heroic deed

Even now, six months after serving as a lifesaver, Winfried Kretzdorn remains humble : "I do not feel like a hero, in my eyes it was normal and I would do it again and again, " he says.

The taxi driver was then at the right time at the Meersburg harbor, he was waiting there for customers. Suddenly he heard screams from the harbor. The 59-year-old ran immediately to the pier and recognized in the water a woman who called for help. Others also noticed the screams, but no one dared to enter the cold water.

Winfried Kretzdorn briefly considered and asked the bystanders to call an ambulance. Without hesitation, he jumped into the freezing cold waters.

"At such a moment, you do not think about it, but I just realized that this person needs help, " says the man from Markdorf. He knew what he was getting into, after all, he regularly went to the sauna and was used to jumping into Lake Constance on cold days. But as he plunged into the water that day, every breath ached.

After he reached the woman by the harbor wall, he realized, "It was the last second, her head hanging in the water, and shortly after I could support her, she lost consciousness."

But the hardest act was still ahead of the Markdorfer: "I had no idea how to lift the woman up the harbor wall." In the meantime he had been drifting in the cold water for a few minutes, slowly it was becoming dangerous for him as well.

At that moment, the passers-by threw down a tow rope to pull the woman up. When her rescuer came out of the water, paramedics were waiting for him to take care of him. But the taxi driver wanted to make sure that the woman was fine.

Only when she was taken to a hospital, he breathed through - and felt that he was shaking all over. Drenched, the modest lifesaver drove home, treated himself to a hot shower, and continued working until six in the morning.

The taxi driver complained for a long time that at the port of Meersburg rescue equipment was missing. For this reason, he complained to the city a few days after the accident. With success: In the meantime, the necessary equipment was installed there.

This can help his mission even more people in an emergency.

Text: Karoline Nuckel

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