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Man rescued from Arkansas River after jumping in for a swim

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 00:11:07-04

CANON CITY – The water remains dangerously high in the Arkansas River and earlier this week in it almost cost one man his life.

News 5 spoke with Dillion Fitzsimmons about his dramatic rescue and the man who pulled him from the raging waters.

“If it wasn’t for him I’d probably be dead right now,” said Fitzsimmons. He was in Centennial Park in Canon City earlier this week when he decided to go for a swim to cool off.

“I stood on the rock back there and jumped in.”

But his casual dip quickly became a nightmare.

“It sucked me straight under. I fought with everything I had and couldn’t get out…I came up one time. I yelled ‘help’, took in a little bit of air and went straight back under. I thought to myself – I’m going to die.”

Thankfully, nearby was Bridger Langston.

“I was sitting over right on the rock eating a sandwich that I got and I don’t know, something just kept telling me to come down to the river that day.”

He had seen Fitzsimmons jump into the river and soon realized something was horribly wrong.

“The undertow caught him, sucked him under.”

He said search and rescue was in the area, but that they weren’t going to get to Fitzsimmons in time.

“I decided to take matters into my own hands and go help him…I just grabbed him up basically down by the tree over here. I reached out on the tree and I leaned out, and I picked him up by his hair and threw him up on the bank.”

Fitzsimmons was in disbelief at what had happened.

“Glad I’m alive.”

As for Langston, he’s thankful that he was in the right place at the right time.

“I just think that I was sent here to help him out. Didn’t know the kid, but I would want someone to help me out.”

The caution from both men now is that when the water is this high just stay away.

Langston shared that something similar happened to him. He was tubing down the Arkansas River and at one point his brothers had to rescue him.