(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

Castlegar teen cited for drinking and driving near Rossland

The 17 year old put his car in a ditch.

Crown declines to lay charges in Castlegar spree

RCMP were called to eight incidents regarding the same person in a six hour time frame.

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

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

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

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave Indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Most Read