BARBERTON, OH (WOIO) - A Summit County sheriff's deputy and residents rescued a University of Akron student from drowning in the "Iron Channel" in Coventry Township on Friday.
Authorities received a call around 11 p.m. Officials said the temperature was 15 degrees and the wind was blowing at 20 mph.
The deputy arrived and found the victim, Nathan Beam, 24, unresponsive in the water. Before the deputy's arrival, two residents heard the victim struggling in the water and tried to rescue him.
"We opened the door, we hear 'help' so we come down here and we see some guy in the ice," said neighbor Cody Alstadt.
It's still unclear why or how he ended up in the narrow waterway off South Turkeyfoot Road. But if not for the quick action of neighbors Alstadt, Shawn Huff, and Summit County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Kensinger, Beam wouldn't be alive today.
Alstadt and another friend grabbed a rope. In single-digit temps the group hung on until rescue crews arrived.
"I was losing my grip; the guy was coming out of his jacket. I didn't think we were going to get him," said Huff.
"I ended up hugging him to the side of the channel over here. For about what felt like 20 minutes until the sheriff showed up," said Alstadt.
Kensinger arrived and was able to pull the two neighbors and the victim out of the freezing water.
"We picked him up, plopped him over on the sea wall, put him on the bank, gave him a stern rub because he was unresponsive and he opened his eyes," he said.
"It was freezing. My hands were frozen to the bar when I got pulled out," said Alstadt.
"I think his temperature was 90.5 degrees when they got to the hospital. He was pretty low," the deputy recalled.
Kesinger says the Good Samaritans should be commended for braving the frigid waters to help a stranger.
Huff said he knew this was someone's son.
"I didn't feel the cold it was weird. Didn't feel it until afterward. My hands were numb. That was it. Adrenaline was going," Huff said.
One of the men ended up partially in the water and needed assistance, as well.
The deputy was able to rescue both by himself. He and another resident provided first aid until Coventry EMS arrived.
Both men were transported to Barberton Citizens' Hospital for treatment and are expected to make full recoveries.
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