A man riding a WaveRunner saved a person who was close to drowning in the Cowlitz River on Tuesday evening.
Emergency personnel received a 911 call at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday about a man who was drowning in the river about 3 miles north of Kelso, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputy Derek Baker reached the area quickly and tossed his “throw rope” into the river toward the man in the water, the agency said.
At the same time, Eric O’Neill, who was riding a WaveRunner, showed up and rescued the man, grabbing hold of him in the water and keeping him from slipping down into the river, the sheriff’s office said.
“The victim who was literally going under the surface of the water was rescued just in time,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a press release.
The condition of the near-drowning victim, whose name was not released, was not known, the sheriff’s office said. Other than signs of exhaustion, he did not appear to have any obvious injuries, the agency said.
The sherifff’s office also said that it wasn’t clear why the man, who did not know how to swim, was in the river.