An Oklahoma game warden is being praised for acting quickly to save a man who was swept into a whirlwind of water under a dam earlier this month.
Game warden Riley Willman, a resident of Owasso, was monitoring angler compliance near the Flint Creek Water Park in Delaware County on May 11 when he heard screams coming from across the river, according to the department. of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservancy (ODWC).
“Help, cops, call 911!” I heard them scream. Somebody’s drowning!’…And I saw they were pointing to a low water level dam,” Willman explained.
According to the EPA, the creek was full at the time and was flowing rapidly due to heavy rain the day before.
Willman dove into the creek and swam through the rushing waves below the dam. Willman was told by a friend of the victim who was in the water that his friend had jumped into the water and been dragged into the vortex. He claimed to have been underwater for several minutes.
According to the agency, Willman swam to the edge of the vortex but was unable to locate the victim. Willman called what happened next “a fluke.”
“Fortunately, he appeared at the right time for me to catch him,” the game warden explained.
Willman dragged the victim to shore with bluish lips and no pulse. According to the agency, Willman performed several rounds of CPR until the man’s pulse returned.
The victim was transported to a hospital in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He was released the next day.
“We would like to commend Director Willman for his actions, even though he dismissed being called a hero in this scenario,” the ODWC said. “Game wardens are public servants sworn to protect animals and the public’s outward interests, and Willman has demonstrated that.”