Deputy to receive medal in water rescue
November 30, 2016
A Douglas County deputy is up for a lifesaving medal after rescuing a woman from Lake Tahoe last summer.
Aaron Crawford was aboard Marine 7 on July 24 when a woman named Manisha Palla had been drawn into the twin propellers of motorboat off South Lake.
Crawford, 53, and Deputy Ron Skibinsky responded to the incident along with several other Tahoe rescue agencies.
When they arrived, Palla was entangled in the propeller and was unable to keep her head above the rough water.
According to the boat’s driver, he had it in neutral and Palla was swimming up to the rear ladder after being towed on an innertube, and became entangled in the propellers.
Crawford put on his wetsuit and jumped in the water, untangling her from the propellers and passing her to medics for treatment, according to Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit,
While Crawford was freeing Palla from the propellers, Skibinsky helped keep the other 12 passengers on the rented boat calm.
“Both deputies took actions that actions that no doubt saved Ms. Palla’s life,” Lovell said in a letter to Sheriff Ron Pierini.
Lovell said that Palla lost one leg, and had severe trauma to the other, and had to receive seven pints of blood at the hospital.
“While this incident is tragic, you should be very proud of the actions of your Marine Unit in a life-threatening situation,” Lovell wrote. “Both deputies were professional and competent in ever step of this event.”
Crawford’s efforts will be recognized at next spring’s Elks Lodge Law and Order Night.
“I’m just glad she was able to make it through this,” Crawford said.
In presenting Skibinsky with his 15-year plaque, Douglas County Sheriff’s Capt. Dan Britton said the two men saved a lot of people on Lake Tahoe last summer.
Crawford worked for Douglas County for more than 22 years before retiring as an investigator. He served a stint with the South Lake Tahoe boat crew, before coming back to work part-time on Marine 7.