Talk about a Christmas miracle.
The Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a person in the water near Fisher Hill Bridge, North of Lyle, on the morning of Dec 23. The agents had discovered there were in fact two people in the water that morning.
The responding agents, Deputies Dwane Matulovich and Randy Wells, discovered that a father, Javier Lopez, and his son had gone out fishing that morning. Lopez had caught one fish and his son had another on the line. The fish was too much for the boy, deputies reported, and he was pulled into the Klickitat River after losing his footing on the slick rocks down by the river.
Once the boy (name withheld from press) went in, so did his father. Lopez thankfully was able to push his son up onto the rock ledge to safety. When Lopez tried swimming to shallow water, he found the current was too strong, so he swam back, clung to his son and cried out for help.
A fellow fisherman heard the cry for help and quickly acted, deputies reported. Jesse Bryan grabbed his salmon fishing net and went to where the boy was hanging on to his father in the water. Bryan was able to pull Lopez from the freezing cold water to safety.
The two deputies helped the boy into an ambulance. Both Lopez and his son were treated for cold water exposure and were cleared medically. Washington State Patrol Trooper Nate Hovinghoff was able to get dry clothes for both Lopez and his son. The two reportedly were in the water less than 10 minutes due to Lopez’s quick reaction to get his son out and Bryan’s fast thinking to get Lopez out. The air temperature at the time of the call was 31 degrees.
Lopez and his son were given warm, dry clothing and they warmed up in their vehicle. They were then cleared by medics on site.