80-year-old woman braved storms during 9 hours stuck in Cape Coral canal

Published: June 30, 2021 4:32 PM EDT
Updated: June 30, 2021 6:57 PM EDT

An 80-year-old woman was pulled from the canal behind her home Tuesday in Cape Coral after a neighbor heard dogs barking frantically. She was trapped in the water for nine hours after she went in to save her beloved dog, Tinkerbell.

When the neighbor finally heard the woman’s dogs barking, he went outside and then also heard the woman screaming for help, too. The neighbor called 911, officers arrived and got the woman out of the water and to the hospital.

Richard Jones has seen a lot of things get stuck in the canal near his home, but a person was a new one.

“I was kind of shocked,” Jones said. “I felt kind of bad that I wasn’t aware because I would’ve tried to help her.”

When police arrived at the scene, the woman told officers she went into the water to rescue her dog, got stuck, and yelled for help for nine hours.

Gail Abraham lives a couple of doors away. She told us she didn’t hear the screams, but she heard the sirens.

“Usually, you hear sirens in the distance, but you don’t hear them here in our neighborhood,” Abraham said. “So I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t hear anything.”

Abraham said she put a ladder near her dock for the very situation the 80-year-old woman found herself in.

“If either I fell in or anybody that’s visiting, I don’t know, especially like the tide’s low right now, I don’t think I could pull myself up and get out of the canal, so the ladder was something that we added so that if that ever happened, we get to get out,” Abraham said. “To think that somebody would be in that water for nine hours, it’s just very frightening, and I feel really badly about it.”

The woman was in the canal during serious storms during the day but she was able to get under a dock to shield herself from the rain.

She is reported to be in good condition at the hospital, and her dog, Tinkerbell, is OK.