By SUSHMITHA KRISHNAMOORTHY
On Wednesday, Ithaca Police Chief John Barber recognized England resident John Garry Smith for saving the life of an acquaintance who fell into Ithaca Falls in May 2013.
According to police reports, Smith had been in Ithaca with Sureshnath Maturi of Houston, Texas on a business trip when Maturi slipped and fell into the water. Maturi struggled to stay afloat and was drifting downstream when Smith entered the water, pulled him to the shore and continued administering CPR until personnel crews arrived and took over. The subject made a full recovery, the report said.“Our gorges are beautiful. They’re a part of what makes Ithaca a wonderful place to live in. But they’re also very dangerous.” — Jamie Williamson
“There is no doubt in my mind that your friend is alive today because of your quick thinking and decisive actions,” Barber said. “Your immediate response reached the pinnacle of public service: that of saving a human life.”
The Ithaca Police Department will ship a plaque and a letter of commendation as an award of appreciation, which will be presented to Smith at a ceremony next Friday in Sheffield, England, according to Jamie Williamson, public information officer for the IPD.
Williamson said had Smith not acted, Maturi may have become a victim of the Ithaca gorges.
“Our gorges are beautiful. They’re a part of what makes Ithaca a wonderful place to live in. But they’re also very dangerous,” Williamson said. “If you don’t obey the post-it signs, if you don’t employ common sense, if you don’t think before act in our gorges, tragedy is just around the corner.”
Barber agreed with Williamson, reminding Ithacans and visitors of the falls to stay aware of their surroundings.
“This is perfect reminder for anyone who visits our gorges to stay on the trail, off the prohibited area [and] to be cautious,” Barber said.