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TWRA fisheries Tech Saves Drowning Man 
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Post TWRA fisheries Tech Saves Drowning Man

Published by Editor on February 10, 2013.
Published under Community News

A man who was trying to reach his dog from a dock fell into frigid Boone Lake water and was rescued by a nearby TWRA fisheries technician last week.

On January 29, a crew of TWRA fisheries personnel including Russell Young, Darrell Hill, Steve Henegar, Shaun Ramsey, and John Hammonds, went out for a typical day of hauling recycled Christmas trees on Boone Lake. What they got was much more than that.

The five men launched a boat and headed to Rockingham Marina to pick up the trees to transport to sites along the shoreline where they would be anchored for enhancing fish habitat. Once arriving at the marina, the crew loaded some trees onto a jon boat, and because there was extra help for the day, Russell decided to stay at the marina to move more trees from the top of the ramp down to the water’s edge.

Meanwhile, a man was walking to his houseboat docked at the marina, when his dog saw some ducks swimming nearby. The dog jumped into the water after the ducks and then tried to get back onto the dock. When the man bent down to help his struggling dog he fell into the water.

Typically, there are very few people that use private marinas in the winter and Russell happened to be the only person around because of a coincidental decision to stay at the ramp. While the rest of the crew was across the lake unloading the trees, Russell heard the man’s mumbled cries for help. Thinking quickly, he ran to get his cell phone in case he needed to call 911, and quickly made his way towards the desperate pleas. As he approached the area, he noticed an older gentleman and his dog thrashing about in the water. Russell scanned the area for a stick, paddle, board, or anything to reach out to the man to grab so he could be pulled to safety. Unfortunately, Russell did not see anything and because he was working from the bank and was handling cold, wet trees, he was not wearing a PFD and had on insulated clothing and a heavy-duty rain suit. He knew that if he reached out with his hands and grabbed the struggling victim there was a good chance that the man could pull him into the 41 degree water, potentially drowning them both.

At this point, he had to make a split second decision to risk his own life to help the drowning man…and that’s just what he did. The victim was grasping for the dock, barely keeping his head above water when Russell reached in and grabbed him. He could not immediately pull him to safety but Russell relentlessly persevered and was finally able to drag the man up onto the floating dock. Although exhausted from struggling in the frigid water the man was breathing and conscious. Risking his life again, Russell reached back into the water and grabbed the dog.

Russell then helped the man into a heated cabin at the marina where he was able to get warm and dry. Russell stated that it’s only something anybody would do, however his coworkers referred to it as a rare, selfless act of courage when he risked his own life to save someone else’s as well as a dog.

The TWRA recommends the “Reach, Throw, Row, Go” method for rescuing a drowning victim. First, try and reach the victim with a paddle, fishing pole, or another available object. Next, throw the victim a life-jacket or anything that will float. Then, row or paddle a boat to the victim being careful not to strike them. Lastly and only if absolutely necessary, go into the water, but first put on a life-jacket and take one with you to give to the victim.


Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:37 pm
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