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Lakewood teens help save man from drowning at Bear Creek Lake Park

The Green Mountain High School sophomores jumped into action to pull a drowning man to safety when every second mattered.
Lakewood teens help save man from drowning at Bear Creek Lake Park
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 11, 2024

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A group of Lakewood teens jumped into action at Bear Creek Lake Park over the weekend and helped save a man who was drowning.

Summer started off pretty typical for Green Mountain High School sophomores Luke Ball, Danny Hiatt, Alan Johnston and Stefan Radisa.

"We just play sports, hang out as a big group, do a bunch of fun things," said Johnston.

Lakewood teens help save man from drowning at Bear Creek Lake Park

Last Sunday, the plan was to hang out at Big Soda Lake at Bear Creek Lake Park.

"We were just playing spike ball, waiting to see if the clouds would go over or not," Johnston recalled.

City of Lakewood Park Ranger Garrett Shaw was also keeping an eye on the clouds that day from the swim beach.

"We were discussing an incoming storm we had. We're trying to just prepare for how we were going to handle rescues and whatnot," said Shaw.

That's when the boys heard a scream from the water.

"I turn around and I just see someone struggling," said Radisa.

"First we weren't quite sure because he wasn't really yelling because he had water in his mouth," said Johnston.

The man was drowning in the swimming area.

"It's probably somewhere in the range of 8-12 feet [deep]. The water levels fluctuate," explained Shaw. "I noticed a party that was below the surface of the water. I could see them a little bit, and then they just disappeared and there were just bubbles."

Big Soda Lake at Bear Creek Lake Park

Shaw rushed to grab a lifeguard flotation tube and the teens jumped into action.

"One we saw him go down, me and Danny started running out there," said Johnston.

Radisa checked in with the ranger.

"They reached out and said, 'Hey, can we go get him?' And I said, 'Please, absolutely.' And they ran out of the water," said Shaw.

Ball threw the two boys a flotation tube to help get the man to shore.

"Me and Danny pick him up. We start carrying him over to shore, and then some other guy comes to help us," said Johnston.

The man was not breathing, so Shaw started CPR until he started breathing again.

"Relief. I was happy that it worked. We were able to help him. His family was there with us, so it was definitely just some really good relief," said Shaw.

The man was conscious and breathing when the ambulance transported him to the hospital.

Lakewood teens help save man from drowning at Bear Creek Lake Park

"Human life's the most valuable thing on the planet," said Ball. "So it's worth throwing away everything to be able to help somebody."

"We're super grateful for their willingness to step up. And I hope they keep that kind of confidence going forward," said Shaw. "The world needs more people like that that are willing to step in and help out in emergency situations. Without them, I don't know if that situation would have been as successful."

"It's important because if they're in that situation — someone's drowning, someone needs to help them — for some people, it's scary to go help people like that. But I think it's really important," said Hiatt.