A man who was knocked unconscious after he flew out of his raft in white water was dramatically rescued within seconds by a river guide who sprung into action.
River guide Russ Cole was watching on as a group of four rafters took the plunge over 14-foot Husum Falls in Washington’s White Salmon River. While plunging over the falls, one of the men in the boat was able to cling to the edge of the raft, but another hit his head and flew from the raft.
Apparently knocked unconscious, the man, who has not been identified, began to float down river. With the water raging around them, Cole, who was standing on the bank monitoring the falls, dove in. Within seconds he managed to pull the man to a rocky embankment.
“After I yelled to him a couple of times, I could tell he wasn’t turning over,” Cole said. “He had his bell rung seriously.”
After a few minutes on the river bank the man came to, dazed and confused, but otherwise unharmed. And the first thing he said to Cole?
“‘Where am I and how did I get here?’” Cole said the rafter said. “I told him, ‘you ran a waterfall and we warned you not to do it,’ and he said, ‘but I had fun.’ And at the end of the day he said he was coming back!”
Cole told ABC Portland affiliate KATU that after 25 years on the river, this was his first time having to dive in and rescue someone in this fashion.
So why did the man go overboard to begin with? Cole says it appears he forgot a very important rafting rule — to hold on for dear life.