Four men honored for rescuing man in wheelchair who fell off pier

STURGEON BAY, WI (WBAY) – Four men were honored for rescuing a man in a wheelchair who fell off a pier. Being in the right place at the right time made all the difference.

Tuesday afternoon the men returned to where the rescue happened.

“I’m here normally three times a day. Once in a while four times, even,” Ralph Zimmer says.

Earlier this year, on June 8, Zimmer was following his daily routine when he happened to see Eric Murrock playing with his dog Skittles on the pier.

“He was in his wheelchair, and he had just thrown a ball to the dog right there on the right-hand side of the pier,” Zimmer described. “The wheelchair, going backwards with him in it, and just toppled right over the end of the pier there.”

That’s when Zimmer got up and started yelling for help.

Sid Ernest recalled, “I just got out of my boat — was getting ready to go to dinner, actually — and Ralph was on the curb of the road here and started screaming, and he’s hollering that the guy in the wheelchair fell in the water.”

Luck and circumstance seemed to play such key roles that day, like if Murrock were on the left side of the pier, Zimmer may have never seen him fall from where he was sitting.

“I called in to dispatch. You know, obviously we knew we needed much more help than just us,” Ernest said.

On the 911 call he tells the dispatcher, “One of my guys just dropped in. He’s trying to breathe. We’re doing the best we can, get a life vest in to him. We’re trying to get him over to the side.”

Mark Courts was the first to dive in the water.

“I just came around the corner, never hesitated, and just jumped in. Eric was actually floating face down when I found him,” Courts said.

He was followed by his friend Adam Rasmussen.

“It all happened really fast, but it all worked out really well. With the four of us here, everybody had their time and place to make everything work,” Rasmussen said.

The men were honored Tuesday at a city council meeting. Murrock and his family were there and were able to thank the men who saved his life.

“Appreciate that the four guys kind of went above and beyond what most people would be willing to do,” Murrock said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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