A 48-year-old Tacoma man was rescued from the Nisqually River by a group of fast-acting off-duty Navy personnel who performed CPR until medical crews could arrive Friday afternoon.
The man was in critical condition at Providence St. Peter Hospital Friday evening, according to Sgt. Alvin Griffin with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
He had been at a campground in the 1000 block of Clubhouse Lane when he and a 12-year-old boy decided to float down the river in a raft, Griffin said. The raft was not a river raft and neither person was wearing a life jacket. The 12-year-old does not know how to swim, Griffin said.
As the raft went around a bend in the river, it flipped near a log jam. The two were pushed into the logs, where they struggled to stay above water, Griffin said.
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People at the campground used a garden hose to pull the 12-year-old from the water and called 911 around 4:30 p.m. The 48-year-old was freed from the logs and continued to float down river.
Another man jumped in a car and headed down river where he saw the group from the Navy on a sandbar. He alerted them and they jumped in the water and pulled the 48-year-old out, immediately beginning CPR, Griffin said.
“I’m proud of these boys,” he said.
The man and 12-year-old were taken to the hospital. A helicopter was waiting in case the man needed to be flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but it was determined he could be treated at St. Peter Hospital.