SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Rescue crews were dispatched Monday after reports of a man being swept away into the Sacramento River near Old Sacramento and the Tower Bridge.
The tail end of a dramatic river rescue was even caught on camera.
“The hostess says there’s a man in the water,” said manager Ross Billingsley at Rio City Café. “When he reached the pier here he actually went under for minute and I heard someone yell, ‘He grabbed the buoy on the boat.'”
Billingsley jumped on the boat beneath him along with two others and struggled to get the man on board.
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“He came that close to not being able to catch on to that buoy,” Billingsley said.
Billingsley said the man was fully clothed and somehow ended up in the icy river.
“We were reaching for him and I said, ‘You got to grab my hand,’ and he had been in the water for 15 minutes at this point and he said, ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ and you just saw him looking at me like, ‘Do something!’” Billingsley recalled.
And they did.
“He was lethargic in the sense of the water is so cold that he was probably first level, second level hypothermia,” he said.
Soaked, rushing against time and the swift current, the three managed to pull the man up knowing emergency crews still hadn’t arrived.
“They had said a boat was on the way and stuff like that, but with this river, with these temperatures and stuff like that, and the current is the main thing, who knows,” he said.
Billingsley is a former lifeguard and coach, he says his instincts just kicked in and as did the instincts of the several other people willing to help.
“It was actually nice to see that many people trying to help this individual,” he said.
An individual who is lucky to have survived a frigid fall. It’s still unclear how this man ended up in the Sacramento River, but witnesses say he had several EKG-like stickers on his chest. He also didn’t remember his name.
Just a frightening story overall for those along the shore.