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

Mar 9, 2018, 6:02 PM | Updated: 9:32 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

Top Stories

Local News

Tamara Vaifanua

Cedar City to honor beloved teacher with a park

There’s an effort underway in Cedar City to honor a beloved teacher who lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this year.
11 hours ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis

Suspect dead, officer injured after South Salt Lake shooting

One person is dead and a South Salt Lake police officer was injured after shots were fired early Tuesday morning.
11 hours ago
Domestic violence organizations saw a significant increase in request for shelter during the pandem...
Ashley Moser

Advocates encourage victims, perpetrators to seek help as domestic violence increases

Domestic violence organizations saw a significant increase in requests for shelter during the pandemic.
1 day ago
UDOT says it spend over $1.5 million on fixing potholes in the last fiscal year, FY 2022....
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Submitting a claim to the government for pothole damage? Good luck with that

A pothole can do serious and expensive damage to your car. But as Get Gephardt found, if you hit a bad spot on a Utah road, don’t expect the city or state to rush to pay for your repairs.
1 day ago
We All Belong logo....
Debbie Worthen

Parent advocacy group celebrates kids with special needs

A rally in Draper brings hundred of people together to celebrate inclusion for kids with special needs.
1 day ago
American Leadership Academy....
Shelby Lofton

A Spanish Fork high school homecoming dress code causes tension between students and faculty

Upset students are speaking out tonight after being turned away from their homecoming dance.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Utah man credits divine intervention for leading him to person stuck in icy river