"Right when she said she had to let go, she couldn't do it anymore, my heart sank,"" said Scheibelhut. "I felt extremely powerless. There’s nothing more I can do, it’s all on her to hang on."
For more than an hour, Scheibelhut talked with Barriga.
"Her speech started strong, but it dwindled toward the end. She kept passing out,” Scheibelhut said. “She said she was tired, exhausted and cold."
When Scheibelhut heard Barriga say, "I have to let go, I can't hang on any more," Scheibelhut told her co-worker Shelli Bosse that Barriga was losing her fight. At that moment, Bosse was on the phone with the Coast Guard.
"I told her (Shelli) they should look for (Barriga's) yellow kayak," Scheibelhut said.
Just then, Scheibelhut heard someone talking and that someone wasn't Barriga. "A guy said, 'Is this 911?' I said yes. He said, 'This is Chikaming Fire.'" The "guy" was Chikaming Township firefighter Josh Knuth.
Knuth heard Scheibelhut on the phone with Barriga. When Knuth's rescue team found Barriga, she was in-and-out of consciousness.
"We grabbed her, put her in the boat and took her to shore," Knuth said.
"When I heard help was there ... it was chills and good bumps all over," Scheibelhut said.
“God was looking out for her,” Knuth said. “It was a needle in a haystack, we found her, everyone can be thankful."
At the Mishawaka dispatch center, "All of us girls in the room cried and hugged," Scheibelhut said.
As for Barriga, she was taken to a Michigan City hospital where she was treated for hypothermia and released later Wednesday.
IRONYRescue teams say Barriga had cell phone service because she was only a few miles from shore and she didn't even know.