Neighbor, retired firefighter save boater in Neuse River

Neighbor, retired firefighter save boater in Neuse River

NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - A Craven County resident helped a retired firefighter save a boater who went overboard in the Neuse River.

Newsom and Sandy Williams were on their porch eating lunch when they saw a boat going around in circles Monday afternoon.

"We saw what looked to be a head and flailing arms outside of that tight circle. [We] got the binoculars and sure enough, it was a fellow in the water," Williams said.

Williams said he then brought out his kayak.

"I paddled towards him. He was under, he came back up, he went back under," Williams said.

Officials said the victim was in a 15-foot bass boat when he somehow went overboard. They said a retired firefighter helped bring him back to shore on a jet ski.

"[The victim] had been underwater a bit and was not able to follow directions. [The retired firefighter] calmed him, and with some great effort, I got him on the jet ski," Williams told NewsChannel 12.

Williams said the victim looked like he was near death.

"He was still with us. He would not have been maybe had it been another 30 seconds. He couldn't communicating," said Williams. "He had a cut on his arm, but mostly, he was exhausted."

New Bern Fire-Rescue came to the scene with EMS and carried the victim from the dock. The victim, who had not been identified, was then transported to a hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

Fire Chief Bobby Aster said there was a life jacket in the boat, but the victim wasn't wearing it.

"The thing is, always wear your flotation devices and just be careful when you are out there on the river. Just keep your eyes open and your ears open, and know your surroundings," Aster said.

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