Dade teen rescue man from drowning - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dade teen rescue man from drowning

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MARION COUNTY, TN  (WRCB)  --  A regular fishing trip turned into much more than that for a 17-year-old Dade County student.

Joey Tamburello was on the banks of the Tennessee River near Raccoon Valley, when he jumped in and rescued a drowning man.

The middle-aged fisherman fell into the water after going into diabetic shock.

Family members of Tony Dodd say he'd planned a day on the riverbank, fishing alone at his favorite spot.

"When I pulled in there was a guy just sort of sleeping on the bank," says Tamburello. 

Tamburello has been taking it easy since undergoing serious back surgery two weeks ago.  Thursday night he decided to take a break from the house and go fishing.

"I asked him if he was okay," Tamburello says.  "He twitched, had fishing the pole still in his hand so I just thought he was asleep."

The middle aged man, Tamburello spotted lying on the bank looked odd from the beginning, but it wasn't until Tamburello walked back by 20 minutes later that he knew something was wrong.

"He hadn't moved," says Tamburello.  "So I asked him if he was okay again that's when he turned over and started coughing."

Tamburello pulled out his phone and dialed 911, then a few minutes later things got worse.

"He just sorta rolled off into the water," says Tamburello. 

Despite strict doctor's orders to avoid water or lift anything more than 10 pounds, the 17-year-old dove in.

"I couldn't see him," says Tamburello.  "I just reached out and grabbed for the last place I seen him, grabbed his shirt." 

By the time Tamburello reached Dodd, he had drifted 8 feet from shore.  The 17-year-old swam Dodd back to safety, about the time his two brothers pulled up.

"They told us Tony was in the water," says Harold Link.  "We ran down there to help get him out."

Link helped Tamburello pull his younger brother out of the water, telling a nursing student in the crowd he is diabetic. 

"She gave him some coke or something to try to get his sugar up," Link says. 

Standing at the riverbank again Friday Link knows more than one thing went right for his brother. 

"The boy that rescued him did a fantastic job," Link says. 

The 17-year-old says he just reacted, and hopes to meet Dodd soon. 

"When he gets out and he's able to come out again me and my dad are gonna take him fishing," Tamburello says.

Harold Link says his brother suffers from type one diabetes, and has gone into sudden shock before.  He was transported by ambulance to Erlanger, where he's listed in critical condition.


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