UPDATE: Teen saves man in Marion County water rescue
We’re glad to report a water rescue at what was feared to be a drowning.
Dispatchers say they had every reason to fear the worst when the call came in at Ketner’s Mill near Whitwell in Marion County.
Bryan Pruitt, 18, originally went to the swimming hole Wednesday to fish and swim. Little did he know, he’d end up saving the life of a man almost twice his age.
The swimming hole behind Ketner’s Mill is a popular area to cool off on hot summer days. But Wednesday, an afternoon swim turned into a near drowning when a 34-year old man got caught in a current.
“This guy got about 30 feet from the concrete wall and jumped out and got sucked up underneath the water,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt watched it all unfold right before his eyes. He says he couldn’t just stand there and do nothing, so he acted on his instincts.
“I just knew I had to get to him,” he said.
The 18-year old jumped into the water and swam out to the man in a desperate attempt to save him.
“When I felt his body touch my legs, I twirled around and grabbed him and tried to get him out of the swells,” he said.
Marion County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Kevin McNabb says after the rescue, the man was alert but was flown to Erlanger to be checked out.
He says had Pruitt not jumped in, this story would have a much different ending.
“There’s no doubt, if the other gentleman hadn’t been paying attention and did what he did, the victim definitely would not have made it,” McNabb added.
Pruitt says if given the chance, he’d help the stranger all over again despite the fact that he could have lost his own life while trying to save another.
“I almost died out there. But it makes it all worthwhile that I got him out safely,” he added.
Officials don’t advise anyone regardless of experience to swim in areas like this one because of how dangerous the currents can get.
“This gentleman may have been an excellent swimmer, just after some point the body starts to exhaust and you’re unable to fight your way out of the current,” McNabb said.
Officials tell Channel 3 the man did have some water in his lungs. He is recovering at Erlanger.
We are glad to report a water rescue at what was feared to be a drowning at Ketner's Mill in Marion County.
It happened around 5:00pm CST.
We have a crew on the way and will bring you updates as they become available.