Lifesavers recall dramatic rescue at New Richmond boat landing
Nathan Weitgenant, 20, of Hammond got caught up in a life changing experience on Sunday, July 10.
Weitgenant and his friends, Dillion Anderson (Woodville) and Jacob Rock (Hammond), had just launched their boat into the water around 4 p.m. at the boat landing at Mary Park in New Richmond when they decided to offer a man some help getting his boat into the water.
Before the three young men could ask the man how he'd like them to help, Weitgenant said the man stepped into the water and suddenly slipped backwards onto the concrete, hit his head, and instantly knocked him out.
Weitgenant said the man immediately started floating into a few feet of water.
It was only a matter of seconds before Weitgenant, Anderson and Rock were pulling the man out of the water and onto the dock.
"It took three of us to get him out of the water," Weitgenant said. "Otherwise, if it was just me that wouldn't have happened, it was so slippery (on the landing)."
Weitgenant said the man was bleeding from his head and ear when they pulled him onto the dock.
An onlooker at a nearby fishing dock called 911 and moments later an ambulance came and took the man away.
Looking back, Weitgenant said he's thankful he and his friends stopped to help.
"He's pretty fortunate someone was there (at the landing), it just happened to be us," Weitgenant said.
Weitgenant said he contacted the hospital to find out how the man was doing, but wasn't given any information due to privacy policies.
"Hopefully he's OK," Weitgenant said. "Head trauma, bleeding out of the ear ... that's a serious concussion for sure."
Although the three young men did go fishing after the lifesaving incident, Weitgenant said it "was weird to go fishing after that and try to have some fun."
He said the feeling in the boat was one of shock, as they all questioned, "Did that just happen?"
Although Weitgenant, Anderson and Rock never expected they'd save a man's life that Sunday evening, all three have had real-world experience helping others and being prepared for the unexpected.
Weitgenant is an Eagle Scout, Anderson is in the National Guard and Rock was in the Marines.
"I'd say it was more than instinct to get him out of the water and tilt his head to the side so the blood would drain out of his ear," Weitgenant said.
It could just be a coincidence, but Weitgenant said his Eagle Scout token was in his pocket when he walked off the dock at Mary Park, yet he doesn't remember ever putting the token in his pocket that morning.
Weitgenant said he's never saved anyone's life before.
"This is definitely a first," he said. "It's a small event but it's pretty important. It means a lot."
**According to police records, the man saved by the three young men was New Richmond resident Edward Slamkowski. The News called Slamkowski on multiple occasions but was unable to reach him for comment.