Every day has its fair share of calls to service for a deputy in Limestone County, but it's not every day that the call involves jumping into the river to save a drowning victim.
However, Thursday was that day for the Limestone County Sheriff's Office. LCSO reported the call came in around 6 p.m. that a male subject had been located in the water near Easter Ferry and Morris roads.
Multiple departments responded, including members of the Elkmont Volunteer Fire Department, Blake Allison of the LCSO Boat Unit, Athens EMS, LCSO Lt. Rhett McNatt and four deputies — Jake Abernathy, Richard Clanton, Lucas Ferrell and Mike Bloodworth.
According to LCSO, Abernathy was on his way home at the time and, as such, happened to be the first on the scene. He spotted the victim about half a mile from a bridge, on the opposite side from other deputies as they arrived.
So, he jumped into the water, swimming across to retrieve the victim. Ferrell joined him to assist, and together, the three swam to shore, where body camera footage released to media by LCSO shows them being pulled from the water.
LCSO said the victim was unresponsive when he made it onto the shore, but thanks to first aid from Athens EMS and transport assistance from Elkmont VFD, the victim was able to be loaded onto an ambulance and taken to a helicopter for transport to Huntsville Hospital.
Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely praised all involved Friday, saying he was "extremely proud" of his deputies.
"The Limestone County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to the protection and safety of the citizens of our county," Blakely said. "I am extremely proud of my deputies and their actions taken to save this young swimmer that was in distress. I would also like to commend the actions of all first responders that assisted in this rescue."