Several people were swept away by the current in the Rhine in Düsseldorf on Sunday – one woman was critically injured and her husband is missing.

The woman went swimming in the river on Sunday afternoon, as the fire department announced in the evening. She was surprised by the strong current. Her husband and another relative also jumped into the water to save the helpless woman. They also got caught in the current. 

One of the helpers was able to escape the water unharmed at the last moment. The woman was later pulled out of the water by rescue workers, apparently lifeless. Emergency paramedics and an emergency doctor initiated extensive resuscitation measures and took the critically injured person to a hospital. Her husband, who rushed to help, remained missing. Rescue workers called off the extensive search for the man; his chance of survival was slim, a spokeswoman for the fire department said early on Monday morning. The couple’s children were looked after by emergency pastors on the banks of the Rhine.

During the search, emergency services from the helicopter spotted another person who had apparently gotten into distress in the Rhine and was holding on to an object in the water. He remained uninjured. “Swimming in the Rhine is life-threatening,” warns the fire department. “For example, on so-called cribs or groynes – gravel areas that protrude into the water – dangerous whirlpools and currents often form. There is also a strong current in the channel.” Even experienced swimmers sometimes come out far below the point where they entered the water.