Mannequin, not person, in water sparks emergency call, boat search

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Mass. Fire Department Rescues Mannequin, Not Person, From Water

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

When the Harwich Fire Department in Massachusetts got the call Monday afternoon that someone had seen what looked like a person in the water off the Bells Neck Conservation, they rushed to the scene.

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"We have a standard response policy for a person in the water," said Harwich Fire Lt. Scott Tyldesley.

That response involves several agencies and a lot of equipment.

"We automatically activate our dive team in case they’re needed they’re on the way," Tyldesley said.

"We knew it was a remote area that would be a tough area and we have a small boat that we were able to get and launch in remote areas."

They spotted what looked like a person – twisted and half in the water – but something didn't seem right.

"The color of the skin just looked a bit off for a person," Tyldesley said.

As they got closer, they realized they no longer needed to rush.

"We followed the river out and quickly determined it was a case of mistaken identity," he said.

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“I was in the boat with another firefighter and honestly as we started approaching it I was pretty sure it was a training mannequin."

Fire department officials said they're thankful that there weren't any other calls at the time, and the call ended the way it did.

“Any chance you get to respond to a non-standard emergency is a great training exercise and for this to have it work so well that it wasn’t someone dead it was just a training mannequin – so the mission was accomplished and everything went well and everyone came home uninjured," Tyldesley said.

If the mannequin was put there on purpose, charges could be filed because of the cost of the response.

But it wasn't the owner of the mannequin who put it there.

He reached out to police saying it was stolen in January.