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Crisis averted at Riverfest as local hero saves two people

June 01, 2019 - 11:09 pm

Despite warnings about the speed and levels of the Arkansas River, some people got too close during Riverfest on Friday evening. Thanks to some Good Samaritans, however, two dangerous moments that could have been devestating ended on a positive note.

As Devin and Anna Callon waited for the fireworks display to begin on Friday evening, the couple noted how close some people were allowing their children to get to the water's edge. They were concerned that someone might fall in and get pulled underneath the water. 

Moments later, the couple witnessed their fears become reality when a woman fell into the river near the side of the dock.  They say a woman fell into the river near the side of the dock. Devin pulled the woman out of the water and gave her the Heimlich Maneuver when she gave the signal that she was choking.

Unbelievably, less than two minutes after helping rescue the first person in the river, a child running near the river fell in and went under. Devin jumped into the water, grabbed the child and threw him onto the nearby pathway.   

That's when he says the force of the water pulled him under, too. He had to be pulled from the water by his wife and another bystander.

The American Heart Association advises not to use the Heimlich, and to try suction instead if someone has been in the water, saying that the abdominal thrusts from the Heimlich can be dangerous to the victim. 

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