RAINIER, Ore. -- It has been a deadly month so far in Oregon waterways, with several drownings stretching from Cowlitz County to Marion County.
There could have been one more, if a father and son team hadn't jumped into action along the Columbia River Monday.
Michael Neumann and his 18-year-old son Alexander were fishing along the banks of the Columbia, near Rainier when they saw the swimmer in distress.
The man appeared to be intoxicated and belly flopped off a navigation marker in the river with some friends. He quickly started struggling in the current and began yelling for help.
The Neumanns watched as the current carried the man about 60 yards off shore. Then Alexander said his instincts and Boy Scout training kicked in.
With his dad yelling instructions, he swam to the man, and saved his life.
“I didn't want him to pull me under. It took a lot of energy to get out to him and I knew the work had only just begun,” Alexander Neumann said. Alexander safely pulled the man to shore.
When the man was leaving the beach area about an hour after the rescue, he stopped and gave Alexander a big hug and thanked him.
The Neumanns said they’re not looking for a hero's spotlight. They just hope the story encourages others to be safe and not mix alcohol with swimming.
River patrol deputies will tell you it is a big risk to swim to someone in distress. In this case, the father and son felt it was the only way to save him.