I’ve been fascinated with survival for the past few months. Why do some people thrive in life or death situations and others just collapse? All of the ologies – sociology, psychology, physiology – capture my attention and imagination. Recently, I was fortunate enough to witness an act of survival, along with an act of bravery, whether the savior will admit it or not. The following is my account of that day.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Kevin sprang from the canoe. He battled the current as he swam across the river to a log jam where two river-goers were stuck. They had been caught in the current and their canoe had flipped and was jammed against the logs by the pounding water. Both of the canoe’s passengers were hanging on to whatever they could, bobbing up and down in their orange life jackets and pleading for help. But no one responded to their calls, except Kevin
By the time he managed to swim across the river, Kevin discovered that the girl couldn’t swim. Immediately, she become Kevin’s main priority. As other members of the stranded pairs entourage paddled over, Kevin tried to help the girl to a position where she could be rescued.
But half way through the maneuver, something went wrong.
“She just seized up with terror and went limp,” Kevin said.
With 110 punds of dead weight in his arms, Kevin struggled to move the girl to the other side of the log jam where she could be picked up.
Depsite being tired from swimming across the current and handling a girl gripped with terror, Kevin wasn’t done.
There was still the matter of the canoe.
Under normal circumstances, canoes can be unwieldy and heavy. Add a current exacerbated by heavy rains and a doubling in weight because of water and a whole new beast emerges.
Eventually, with the help of others, Kevin managed to free the canoe, empty it and return it to its rightful owner.
His tasks done and all his energy drained, Kevin sat up the log where the pair had been before letting the current take him back to his friends.