A dramatic rescue unfolded on the Nanaimo River Tuesday after a man started struggling in the water and sank below the surface.
The near-drowning happened around 12 p.m.
The man was swimming in the river when one woman noticed he seemed tired. She told him to take a rest. He was standing on a submerged rock in the river and she swam away.
“I saw one hand go down and he went under the water and I knew immediately that something was wrong,” said Kim Humphries, who is the man’s landlord and took him to the river today as he’s new to Nanaimo.
“I quickly swam right back and saw him sink into the water and I went and grabbed him pulled him out of the water he was trying to pull me down [common among drowning victims] but I wasn’t having any of that.”
She says she got him to the surface and was swimming to the edge when a nurse jumped in to help.
“Hopefully, I get to meet her again. She was behind. She had jumped in, picked him up as well and helped me turn him over and then we pulled him out of the water,” said Humphries.
It’s believed the man may have suffered a seizure or some sort of medical incident.
Others called 911 and helped direct BC Ambulance paramedics to the man.
Though the man had regained consciousness, firefighters and Nanaimo Search and Rescue members carried him up the steep terrain to a waiting ambulance. They applaud the woman’s rescue.
“Saved his life, guaranteed, getting him out of there. It’s not an easy thing to do,” said Fire Chief Ron Gueulette of the Cranberry Fire Department.
This happens to be National Drowning Prevention Week and officials say fortunately, the manwas following one of the key recommendations to avoid drowning.
“Yes, he was swimming with friends so that’s always a good thing too. Make sure you swim with a buddy,” said Gueulette.
Humphries says she became a strong swimmer because her parents put her in swimming lessons.
“I took swimming lessons for 17 years so yeah swimming lessons for your kids, please.”
Humphries says she’d like to thank all who helped and she’s so glad her tenant, who is new to Nanaimo, is going to be OK.