Utah man credits divine intervention for leading him to person stuck in icy river

Mar 9, 2018, 6:02 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 4:19 pm

Nathan Fillmore was honored for his role in saving a man from drowning in the Snake River on a frig...

Nathan Fillmore was honored for his role in saving a man from drowning in the Snake River on a frigid January day.

Nathan Fillmore was declared an “East Idaho Real Hero” by the American Red Cross for his actions on the afternoon of Jan. 3. The Idaho Falls Fire Department and Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office were also recognized for saving the man.

Fillmore was at the Snake River in Idaho Falls working with a film crew on a commercial when ambulances, police cars and fire engines pulled up. It was around 20 degrees, and ice covered most of the river.

“I remember thinking while we were shooting that if somebody fell in there it would be very bad,” Fillmore recalls.

Officials said a man taking photos slipped on the side of the river and fell into the freezing water. He was able to grab onto rocks along the banks, but most of his body was submerged.

“He called 911 from his cell phone and tried to explain where he was located, but we had very limited information,” Bonneville County Sheriff Deputy Christopher Rix tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Deputies and firefighters began walking along the side of the river looking for the man. Fillmore joined in the search as minutes ticked away.

“Suddenly, right out of the corner of my eye, I saw his head poking up out of the water and he was looking directly at me,” Fillmore said. “I could tell he was almost out of energy because he was trying to wave his beanie at me but he couldn’t speak. He was just staring.”

Fillmore yelled to emergency responders that he had found the man and began recording the rescue operation with his cell phone.

“He was probably in the water almost 12-13 minutes,” Idaho Falls Fire Chief Cody Anderson said. “He was about done. Had he been there five minutes, we might have lost him.”

Crews pulled the man from the freezing water and helped him into a warm ambulance. He was so weak that he couldn’t walk on his own but was treated on the scene and released.

Responders said had Fillmore spotted him a few minutes later, the man likely could have died.

“Were he to have let go of the cliff face, he very possibly could have gotten sucked under the ice and trapped under an ice shelf for quite some time,” Rix said. “It was very close to being a much worse situation.”

Deputies and firefighters said they are humbled to receive the American Red Cross award, but acknowledge they were just doing their jobs and shouldn’t be called heroes.

Fillmore is thankful he was in the right place at the right time and is glad he could help.

“I’m more inclined (to think) that there was some divine intervention that helped me,” Fillmore said. “The real heroes are the dudes that are trained and passionate about saving lives. They pulled him out of the river, and it made me feel good to participate in some small way.”


™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

The Utah Senate on March 1, 2024....

Lindsay Aerts

Final day of 2024 legislative session saw billions in funding and a move to ban pride flags

The final day of Utah’s 2024 legislature saw over 100 bills passed, involving funding for downtown, social media restrictions for minors, and a $29.4 billion budget.

16 minutes ago

Cache County Clerk David Benson addresses a crowd regarding election law violations. (Mike Anderson...

Mike Anderson

Cache County Clerk addresses office election law violations

Cache County Clerk David Benson answered questions from the media and local voters about findings of numerous election law violations in his office.

1 hour ago

Pair of handcuffs on a black bacthroom...

Alexander Campbell

Washington County man calls police on self, gets arrested for stolen firearms

A teenager is off the streets after calling in to St. George Police and giving them his approximate location Friday, leading to a guns-drawn arrest.

2 hours ago

Two victims in a Hit-and-run in Sugarhouse speak to KSL News on Friday. (Emma Benson, KSL News)...

Emma Benson

Sugarhouse hit and run victims speak out

Two Sugarhouse women are speaking out after they were involved in a hit-and-run.

4 hours ago

Toyota passenger car that was involved in a fatal crash on Friday. (Utah Highway Patrol)...

Alexander Campbell

South Jordan crash results in one fatality, closes I-15 on ramp

Interstate 15 is closed at 11400 South while Utah Highway Patrol investigates a fatal crash on Friday.

4 hours ago

SLCPD officers pulling the the man off the parking garage ledge. (The Salt Lake City Police Departm...

Alex Cabrero

Body cam video shows police officers save man’s life during mental health crisis

Many people who live or work in downtown Salt Lake City often have very normal days. 

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah man credits divine intervention for leading him to person stuck in icy river