FOLSOM LAKE (CBS13) — An 88-year-old Sacramento man and his friend were reunited after their boat outing on Folsom Lake nearly killed him.
The man was pulled to safety after his boat capsized and started to suffer from hypothermia, but his injured friend risked his life to find that help after spending hours in freezing cold water.
Jim Garfield is doing better at the hospital, with his tube out and he’s speaking.
“I don’t know if you believe in miracles, but there were too many of them happening,” said Jon Threet.
He calls it a Christmas miracle that allowed him to rescue Garfield. But he doesn’t like to take credit for his heroism.
“Heroes are another breed,” he said. “I just did what had to be done.”
What had to be done was beyond mind and courage. It was a story of persistence that Threet drew out with pen and paper.
Garfield, a retired diver, teamed up with the former Marine to search for wreckage of a plane that crashed 50 years ago in Folsom Lake. With California’s drought drawing the lake to record lows, it seemed to be the time to make things easier.
But this time, the boat got caught on something underwater. They spent an hours trying to right the boat and another hour pulling it to shore. It got dark and Garfield got too cold.
Threet went to find help, running a mile before nearly collapsing from exhaustion.
“I remember thinking I tripped over a log and landed over my hands and knees and thinking if I could just lay down a little bit I’d have more energy,” he said.
Miraculously, the nearest home was just ahead, but the homeowners didn’t think he was in trouble.
“I think they called 911, not because they wanted to help but because they figured I was some kind of threat,” he said.
Fortunately the call alerted the right people and the right people were overhead in minutes.
The California Highway Patrol plane captured infrared video of the rescue on the ground. When they found Garfield, he wasn’t breathing.
But now he expects to be out of the hospital by Christmas. He’s already joking around about getting a stronger boat.