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‘They were heroes for me’: Woman thanks divers who found her prosthetic leg in Geist Reservoir

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local woman is thanking Indianapolis firefighters for finding her prosthetic leg in Geist Reservior.

Amy Gillum said she and her family were out on the boat Saturday when she took it off.

She said unlike most times she is on the boat, she propped the prosthetic up on the outside of the boat instead of inside.

Shortly after, a wave came by and knocked it into the water.

“It was like slow motion (when it fell into the water),” Gillum said.

Amy Gillum talks about the dive team that found her prosthetic leg on July 25, 2020, on Geist Reservoir. (WISH Photo/Chad Epler)

Her husband jumped in to look for it but had no luck after an hour of searching because of low visibility in the water.

Gillum said her mom got in touch with the Indiana Conservation Officers, who reached out to the Indianapolis Fire Department, whose crew was just finishing a boat training.

That crew sent three divers down. They searched for about an hour, too.

“They came out with big smiles, so happy to help. So professional and it was just amazing to watch, amazing to watch how they worked. … They take their job seriously but they were lighthearted about it, too. They were just, they were heroes for me yesterday,” Gillum said.

Gillum said her family didn’t move the boat from where they thought the leg was and tried their best to help the divers, calling the prosthetic “a needle in a haystack” to find.

“They said they were at the very end of their oxygen, so they weren’t giving it more than 5 more minutes,” said Gillum. “I was really optimistic when they came but as the hour, hour and a half came went on, I was like, ‘Oh this isn’t looking good.'”

She said while the divers looked, she thought about all the things she wouldn’t be able to do without her prosthetic leg — including getting off the boat on her own. Gillum said she has been an amputee for 20 years and had never been without her prosthetic.

“That was scary. I was sad, hopeful at times, thinking, ‘OK, they’re going to get it.’ And then when they came up, I can’t even describe how elated I was,” Gillum said.

The prosthetic is worth about $20,000, and Gillum said the cost of replacement weighed on her as they searched because she is self-employed and doesn’t have the kind of insurance coverage that would replace it. She also reached out to her prosthetist during the search to find out if there was any kind of magnetic part of the leg that could aid in helping find it.

On the last diver’s last pass in the water, he found the leg and brought it back up.

“When they did find it, there were all these boats, and they were all cheering, ‘USA!’ It was absolutely amazing,” Gillum said.

Gillum offered her thanks to the crew and the time they took out of their day to help her.

Full interview with Amy Gillum:

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