(04/30/2017)
A Calhoun woman walking in Elizabeth's Sportsman Park rescued a elderly boater who fell into the Little Kanawha River and got tangled in a rope.

26-year-old Mikaela Cogar of Grantsville and her sister saw the man clinging to the boat in the river.

Authorities say the elderly man, who wasn't immediately identified, was wearing heavy boots and a life vest improperly secured while his boat was drifting.

Cogar said her sister ran for help and she walked to the river, asking the man if he could wait for firefighters, and then jumped in when he said he couldn't hold on much longer.

She swam to the boat, got the rope off, held him and once the engine kicked off, pushed the boat toward shore and firefighters.

Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department Chief Stephen Settle said officials were not sure why he went overboard, but the man was wearing heavy boots and had a life vest that was not properly secured.

"It was a blessing for that man," Settle said. "If he'd been 100 yards up river or 100 yard down river or if no one had been at the park, it would have been much different."

Members of the Elizabeth VFD, Wirt County EMS and the Wirt County Sheriff's Department were alerted and on scene within a few minutes, Settle said.

"I eventually got the rope from around him. I could tell he was tired and scared. I held him in the water because I knew he was tired," Cogar said.

"There were numerous other people who helped out and made it successful... It was the perfect setup for a great outcome," Settle said.


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