JAMESTOWN – An elderly man was saved from the rushing current of the Chadakoin River Monday morning by good samaritans who heard his cries for help.
It seemed to be a ‘right place, right time’ moment for area resident Mike Campbell, who was assisted by Merle Delcamp, Dean Bennett, and Patti Carlson perform the 6:30 a.m. rescue.
“I got to work, and I got off my motorcycle and I heard somebody yelling, ‘Help me! Help me!’ and I looked over at the river and I thought I saw something floating in the water, and it turned out to be an older guy, an older gentleman, floating in the water.”
“Mike here yelled for us, and Merle and I and Mike, we all ran around to the other side, and Merle got down on his belly, grabbed onto him, and I got ahold of him, and I asked Mike here to help out,” explained Bennett. “We basically just held onto him until Jamestown P.D. could come and help us out.”
The group didn’t know why the man, who they estimated to be in his mid-50s or 60s, was on the riverbank so early in the morning, but they said he was only in his underwear when they grabbed onto him.
“He was almost out of my reach, but I was able to grab ahold of his wrist and he was holding onto a vine. When I got a hold of him, I said I wouldn’t let go, I told him, I said ‘I gotcha, I’m not gonna let you go,’” furthered Delcamp.
It was fortunate that all four people were there at the same time, because the group didn’t know if they could have saved the man without all eight hands on deck.
“All three of us, we couldn’t pull him out because it was so far down the concrete wall, and thanks to Patti, being that she called 9-1-1 when she did, JPD responded fairly quick, and thank god they got there when they did because it was extremely hard for us to hold on,” said Delcamp.
The saviors estimate that the water was about eight to ten feet deep, so standing wasn’t an option. Furthermore, they described the conditions as “slippery” and noted how cold and high up on the banks the water was.
“The current was so strong that when he was holding onto the vine, his body was almost horizontal to the top of the water… he didn’t have much strength left to him,” stated Delcamp. “It looked like he’d been in there awhile.”
Once the police arrived, they were able to hoist the man out of the rushing water and onto dry land. He then was taken in an ambulance for a medical evaluation.
“They’re all heroes,” said Patti Carlson, referencing the three men who sprinted to the struggling man’s aid. “Not just anybody would go do that for just anybody.”
In the end, the squad was just glad that the man was alive and wanted to make sure that he got the help he needed. They also wanted to thank the first responders who aided in the rescue.
“I hope that he gets the care that he needs,” commented Delcamp. “I want to find out who he is, his name and everything, and actually want to thank the officer that helped pull him out… we couldn’t have done it without him.”