A 24-year-old man was rescued by an off-duty state patrol officer after he became trapped in a whirlpool. The incident occurred because the hiker misjudged the swiftness of the water as he tried to cross Angel Falls in California. Dramatic footage of the rescue shows the quick-thinking officer using a stick and cord to pull the drowning man from the whirlpool.
According to California Highway Patrol Fresno, Officer Brent Donley was alerted to “a victim who was struggling to keep above water, stuck in the cold and fast moving water”. The man had become trapped in the whirlpool after he decided to walk across it. The water at the whirlpool was flowing at 50-80 feet per second. “That’s about like 50-80 basketballs full of water every second,” the Madera County Sheriff’s Office explained in a Facebook post.
To save the man, Officer Donley cut out his backpack’s para cord-style strap and tied it to a stick to give him something to grab on to. Then, with the help of other hikers present at the scene, he pulled the hiker to safety.
A video of the rescue was shared on Facebook by California Highway Patrol.
Since being shared two days ago, the video has collected more than 1.4 lakh views and hundreds of stunned comments. Many praised Officer Donley for keeping calm and displaying presence of mind during the rescue.
“He was very lucky! Stay away from the rivers this time of year. The water is to high and rapid,” wrote one person in the comments section.
“A true first responder. Remained calm and gave instructions to the individual before acting. You are a hero,” said another.
“We sincerely thank Officer Donley for his quick-thinking and preparedness,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “This Search and Rescue call could have ended very badly if not for his help.”