(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fernie athletes win Calgary soccer tournament

The Fernie U12 boys team won their first ever indoor soccer tournament

International Fly Fishing Film Festival coming to Fernie

The festival will air at the Vogue Theatre on March 5

Ghostriders win in double overtime

Ending their season on a high note, the Riders are ready for playoffs to begin on Friday

FAR educated riders at Avalanche Awareness Day

Rescue dogs, snow pit lessons, and avalauncher demonstrations made for a fun yet educational day

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read