First responders discuss the rescue of Matt Reum, trapped for six days

The firemen who carried out the rescue of Matt Reum, went through many training scenarios to prepare them for emergencies like this.

This situation created some unique challenges they had to overcome to safely rescue Reum. 

Zach Sweat, of the Portage Fire Department, stated, “When I got down to the car, he was alert and talking and was just extremely happy to see people. And to have someone there to get him out of the situation he was in.”

Zach Sweats was the first from Portage Fire Department to talk with Reum after climbing down the steep ravine. Reum crashed his vehicle last Wednesday and was trapped for six days until two fishermen discovered his vehicle Tuesday.

Firefighters say Reum was pinned by his dashboard and steering wheel. He had to be cut out.

Mike Durak, of the Portage Fire Department, elaborated, “Cutting a patient out of a mangled car or truck like that. It's kind of slow and methodical. We want to peel the car, basically away from the patient and not try to rip the patient out of the car. Because we don't know the extent of the injuries, and how every time we make cuts, like it changes the condition of the vehicle.”

As the vehicle was cut, another fireman provided aid, watching Reum's condition.

All the firemen were surprised to see Reum awake and talking.

He survived, they say, because of the unusually warm weather and how Reum was able to get water.

Zach Sweats explained, “He collected rainwater coming off the highway and use his shirt to filter the water out well and drink that for the 6 days he was down there.”

Matt Reum is still recovering at South Bend Memorial Hospital.

None of the firemen, who performed the rescue, ever imagined a call like this.

Jordan Bucy, of the Portage Fire Department, stated, “Never in the 11 years I've been doing this had what I imagined doing extrication underneath an overpass next to a river on a slope with a with a patient that's been there for six days and needing that medical attention.”

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