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'I Was Trying My Best to Keep His Head Above Water' | Man Helps Save Boy From Dan River 'Drowning Machine'

Chris Kerscher said a few other men jumped in to help the boy. They eventually got him to flat land started performing CPR.

'Instinct' is all Doug Baker said it took to jump in the water and help save a boy stuck in the Dan River. Brittney Burns says her friend jumped into action in seconds when one of the childs family members started screaming for help. 

“It’s never something you want to witness but I’m glad we were there,” she said. Doug Baker was one of the first to get a hold of the young child caught in whats been nicknamed the ‘drowning machine' on Dan River, according to Burns. Baker said several people tried to get in the water to help, but the current was too strong. Baker went a little further down stream to intercept the boy, who was face down in the water. 

He held on to the child, who is under the age of 18, but Baker said he couldn't move in fear of losing his grip. It wasn’t long before Baker got help from Chris Kerscher ‘’Terrifying’ is how Kerscher described what the situation was like. 

“We were just kind of floating around and talking and we heard a lady screaming ‘My baby! My baby!’ and there was a bunch of screaming going on,” he said. Kerscher said he saw the head of the young boy and a foot. “I dove in and I swam upstream trying to get across the current,” he said.

Child Rescued After Getting Caught in 'Drowning Machine' on Dan River in Rockingham County

Kerscher said a few other men jumped in to help the boy. They eventually got him to flat land started performing CPR. “It seemed like forever” he said.

Logan Southern also helped save the child. His mother told News 2 she's very proud of him. 

Kerscher said he and the others who rushed to help continued doing chest compressions on the boy, trying to get water out of his stomach. “He was still blue, but then I saw his eye twitch so we were just yelling at him to hang on and fight,” he said. The boy started breathing slowly, according to Kerscher.

Kerscher said by the time he turned him over to the paramedics, the boy was talking, he knew his name and how old he was.

‘I mean it was terrifying,” said Kerscher, “He was in my arms dead and it was just so exciting to see him be able to say who he was and where he was and how old he was.”

RELATED: Big Changes Coming to Dan River Dam Known as ‘Drowning Machine’

Those who jumped into action did not know each other before Sunday. 

"I didn’t know any of them which was kind of cool," he said, "Logan and I were pretty excited that we had actually saved somebody’s life, and we introduced each other but I didn’t know any of the guys before. So it was three guys that didn’t know each other just kind of jumped in there which was pretty cool."

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