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Soldier saves children from Chattahoochee River

Mar. 19, 2014 - 12:00PM   |  
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COLUMBUS, GA. — A soldier is being hailed as a hero for pulling two boys from the Chattahoochee River in Columbus.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that 2nd Lt. James Lamoreaux was exploring a Chattahoochee River island with his wife, Shannon, when he heard screaming and spotted two boys, ages 9 and 15, struggling in the strong current.

Shannon Lamoreaux said her husband swam after them and then pulled them onto the rocks before fire crews arrived on Saturday afternoon.

Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said they were grateful Lamoreaux was there to help. Shores said that if he had not acted quickly, the boys could have drowned.

He caught up to them and pulled him onto the rocks,” Shannon said. “He still had his phone and keys in his pocket. His phone was ruined, but the kids were safe.”After Lamoreaux pulled the boys to safety, the boat crew took them back to shore.

He spotted two boys — 9 years old and 15 years old — struggling in the current.

“My husband heard the screams of the other people, and just jumped in,” Shannon said.

Water rescue crews were dispatched within minutes of the boys falling into the water, Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said. But by the time the Columbus Fire Department’s swift water rescue team arrived, Lamoreaux had already pulled both children to shore.

“He caught up to them and pulled him onto the rocks,” Shannon said. “He still had his phone and keys in his pocket. His phone was ruined, but the kids were safe.”

After Lamoreaux pulled the boys to safety, the boat crew took them back to shore. The 9 year old initially fell into the water while testing its depths, Shores said. When the first boy fell in, the teen followed in an attempt to save him.

“It’s very common that people will jump in after others when they fall in, and it’s also very common that the would-be rescuer becomes a victim as well,” Shores said.

Luckily, Lamoreaux was a strong swimmer. If he hadn’t acted quickly, the situation could have been fatal.

“I spoke to the boat crew leader,” Shores said. “He felt confident that both kids would have drowned if he hadn’t been able to get to them quickly.”

Shores said Lamoreaux would receive a commendation from the Fire Department at a yet-to-be-determined date. “We’re very grateful that he was there to assist that day,” Shores said.

“These swift waters are very difficult to navigate, and even adults can be overpowered by them.”

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