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Three friends hailed heroes for saving a woman from drowning along Illinois River

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 22:54:15-04

TULSA, Okla. — Three friends helped rescue a woman from drowning in the Illinois River on Memorial Day weekend.

The rescuer said the waters were high due to recent rain and a lot of people were getting pinned underneath logs and debris in the water.

“The first responders were real busy, the speedboats and the airboats were just back and forth call after call… multiple people taken out on stretchers,” Adric Bentley, one of the three rescuers said.

Bentley and his buddies like hanging out there to go rafting and to lend a helping hand.

“We go to help and we kind of will sit by and watch the hotspots, where people typically get stuck, flip their boats, run into trouble with logs,” he said.

While rafting along the river, they noticed a man panicking, trying to pull something from the water.

“I thought he was just trying to get the boat stuck from the log and we go there,” he said.

It was not just a a boat he was trying to pull out, it was a woman who was drowning. They paddled over to help.

“Then I see her head down there… so I jump in,” Bentley said.

When he and his buddies saw she was pinned between the boat and logs, they jumped to the rescue.

"I jumped in the water with her, wrapped my legs around her to keep her up and held on to the log and keeping the boat from repeatedly hitting her," he said.

He said the task was not easy.

"I took on a lot of water myself," Bentley said. " My buddy Scott grabbed by hand as I was trying to keep the boat off of us, it was exhausting."

After about 10 minutes, he said they finally pulled her to safety.

As summer season approaches, he encourages people to be safe and wear a life jacket when they are around a lake or a river.

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