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Good Samaritan rescues 13-year-old struggling to swim in the East Fork of the White River

(Photo Provided/ Columbus Fire Department)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — The Columbus Fire Department says a good Samaritan helped rescue a 13-year-old boy from the East Fork of the White River on Sunday. 

Around 6:30 p.m., crews were called to a water rescue after a report of a distressed swimmer on the East Fork of the White River near Mill Race Park. When Columbus Firefighters arrived, police said they could see two people near the bank just north of the Mill Race Park boat ramp. 

Columbus Firefighters launched an inflatable rescue boat from the boat ramp and found the teen and a 29-year-old man standing in the water near the river bank.

The teen told firefighters that he was swimming alone in the water near the confluence of the Driftwood River and the Flatrock River when he started struggling to swim and called out for help. The man said he was on the park’s trail and heard the cry for help. 

The man told officials he saw the 13-year-old in the water and went after him. Once he reached the teen in the water, the two floated down the river and ferried to the edge, but could not climb up the steep bank. That’s when firefighters arrived and helped the two into the boat.

Firefighters say the teen and the man did not appear to have any obvious injuries. 

“We salute the efforts of the passerby for his courageous act of helping this child,” the Columbus Fire Department said in a press release.

Firefighters say this story serves as a warning about the dangers associated with swimming in rivers. 

“Unlike a swimming pool, rivers may have strong currents that can create challenges for even a strong swimmer. Rivers may also contain hidden obstacles that may not be visible above the water. These obstacles may trap or snag a swimmer which could lead to drowning. If swimming in a river, never swim alone and consider a flotation device,” the Columbus Fire Department said in a press release.

Photo of rescue scene (Photo Provided/Columbus Fire Department)