Man drowns trying to save two teens

June 16, 2011 2:28:55 PM PDT
A man drowned while trying to save two teenagers who had gone swimming at the popular Banana Bend beach, along the San Jacinto River. Those teens are physically OK after surviving a near-drowning. But deputies say the hero who swam out to save them, didn't make it.

What started out as a fun day for two close families trying to beat the heat at Banana Bend Park quickly turned tragic when two boys, ages 13 and 17, got in trouble in the San Jacinto River.

Sgt. Mauro Alvarado with the Harris County Sheriff's Office said, "They drifted into the deep end of the river, and they started drowning. They started calling for help."

Large, bright signs are posted around the park warning swimmers there are no life guards on duty. Investigators say a 45-year-old man who is a close friend to the boys jumped in the river to rescue them.

"Unfortunately, the hero in this case didn't make it," Sgt. Alvarado said.

Eyewitnesses told deputies the 45-year-old man was able to get the 13-year-old out of the water safely. But they say there was a struggle as he tried saving the 17-year-old. Deputies say they both went underwater until another eyewitness rushed in the river to pull them out.

"EMS performed CPR on both the individuals," Sgt. Alvarado said. "The 17-year-old responded well to CPR. The 45-year-old did not."

Tragically, the man who risked his life to save those teens died at the scene. The 17-year-old was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital to be checked out.

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