PORTLAND, Ore. - A man attempting to swim from the Eastbank Esplanade to a public dock on the Willamette River Sunday was rescued by a witness who jumped in the water when the swimmer started struggling.
Firefighters from Portland Fire and Rescue's Station 21, located a few hundred feet from the incident, also headed for the location after they received reports of a man in the water at about 1:40 p.m.
Cyclist Kevin Pratt, who had stopped to take a break at a bench along the Esplanade, stripped to his underwear and went into the water to assist the man, firefighters said. After a few minutes, Pratt was able to pull the victim to shore.
Pratt's actions were caught on video by a bystander. The video shows that the victim was in the water for about five minutes total and started struggling about two minutes after he jumped in.
Once Pratt got the man back to shore, firefighters said he and another man, Isaac Bruder, began CPR efforts when they determined the man had no pulse and was not breathing.
Firefighters arrived shortly to assist Pratt and Bruder and the man was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he is listed in serious condition.
Firefighters originally said the victim was homeless, but family members later told KATU that he suffers from a condition that limits his mental ability. They said the victim is 32 years old but functions like a 12 year old.
"Bravery and quick actions by the two bystanders positively affected the outcome of this incident," firefighters said in a press release issued Sunday night.
Firefighters said Pratt is from Milwaukie and Bruder is from Portland.