(Black Press file image)

Fisherman called hero after saving man from drowning near Fernie

“I didn’t really think about anything I was doing, I just kind of did it,” said Calgary’s Aaron Jones.

A relaxing day on the lake with friends and coworkers quickly shifted into something completely different when a watchful bystander noticed a man’s head drop below the surface of the water, and not come back up.

The quick actions of a fisherman and surrounding campers proved pivotal in saving an individual at Suzanne Lake near Jaffray, last Saturday.

“We were coming back from fishing, me and a friend of mine, we both had our young children in the boat,” said Aaron Jones of Calgary.

As the group was approaching the dock in the middle of the lake, they saw a man who was having a hard time swimming, and was calling out for help. Nobody close by seemed to be moving towards the man. Elk Valley RCMP later confirmed that the man had developed a cramp in his legs which rendered him temporarily immobile.

“As we were moving the boat towards him, he went under, and he didn’t come back up,” said Jones. “So once I saw that he was going under I jumped in, I went down, he was pretty much at the bottom by the time I got to him, (and I) swam him back up to the surface.

“He was completely unconscious, like eyes wide open,” he continued. “I tried to feel for a pulse but I couldn’t feel anything. I don’t know if – there was a lot going on at that point.”

Others assisted Jones in getting the man to shore, at which time Jones immediately starting performing CPR.

“Another guy with his friends starting to do chest compressions, and after maybe seven or eight rounds, he came back to life,” said Jones.

“It was pretty intense.”

On the shore watching close by was the man’s pregnant wife, as well as his father-in-law. While he was recovering, his wife lay beside him and comforted him.

“That hit home especially, because I was there with my wife and my young fella,” said Jones.

Growing up, Jones received his bronze cross and was trained in resuscitation, water rescue, but this was many years ago.

Jones, an operations manager for a scaffolding company in Calgary, just happened to be in the Fernie area that weekend camping with friends. Jones said this certainly wasn’t how he planned to spend his weekend, but was very glad that the outcome was what it was.

He stressed that the rescue was not just him.

“There were a lot of factors that came together that kept that guy from dying,” Jones said. “Having people in boats to help alleviate some of the strain on me after having to go down and get him, to bring him into shore. His friend who did chest compressions…”

Jones explained that there were several others on shore, including local volunteer firefighters and mine rescue workers that were able to take over once the man was in recovery position, which allowed Jones to catch his breath.

“It was definitely a team effort, for sure,” said Jones.

Once the dust settled, the saved man and his family invited Jones and his family up to their campsite, where they ate together; everyone expressing how thankful they were to be together.

Asked if he hesitated at all in the moment, Jones paused to think.

“It’s what you’ve got to do, right,” he said. “Like, I don’t know – I didn’t really think about anything I was doing, I just kind of did it.”

A request for comment from the individual who was saved was not returned by press time.



editor@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

The art of community grieving

In recent weeks the Creston Valley has suffered multiple losses in the… Continue reading

PLACE NAMES: More on the great Creston Kootenay debate

Members of the Lost Kootenays Facebook site weigh in on whether Creston is in West or East Kootenay

Images art show and sale returns to Creston

The Images Art Show and Sale will be held on Nov. 23-24… Continue reading

Moose tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northwest Montana

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read