Alan MacPherson, a Fairfax County resident, called MetroScene to report that the following episode involved his 30-year-old daughter, Janice MacPherson Wojtanowsky, on Friday afternoon:

At Gravelly Point, near National Airport, as she was biking home to Alexandria from her job as a government lawyer in Washington, she saw an empty rowboat offshore and a man struggling in the water beyond it.

Swimming to the boat, she found its oars missing, but a life jacket on its deck. She grabbed it, swam to the man struggling beyond and gave him the jacket. He was still thrashing about -- weighed down, it turned out, by heavy hip-length rubber boots.

Somebody -- the woman rescuer isn't sure who -- managed to get a hunk of driftwood to the scene, and the man clutched it and made it ashore. But he refused to stay for the police to arrive or to give his name.

There is no official police report confirming details of the incident. But Officer Ronnie Thompson of the D.C. harbor police said he got a call -- relayed by Arlington police -- from a witness to the event, and dispatched a patrol boat. And the U.S. Park Police, also alerted, sent a helicopter. By the time both arrived, they said the rescue was over.