Two nurses are being credited with helping to prevent a weekend drowning on the Missouri River.
The incident occurred Sunday about 4:30 p.m. at Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge along the Missouri near Fort Calhoun.
The river was busy with boaters, said Capt. Kevin Willis of the Washington County Sheriff's Office. One boat, carrying two children and two adults, was anchored at a sandbar.
The children were in the water without life jackets and needed help returning to the sandbar, Willis said.
Their father, John Isenhour, 35, and a second adult, who also weren't wearing life jackets, began to struggle in the river's current while trying to retrieve the children. One child made it back to land and yelled for help.
Mary Beth Seyler and Diane and Alan Zacharias were aboard a passing boat and heard the cries. They then saw Isenhour and his son, who was on his dad's shoulders, stuck in the current.
Alan drove the boat close to the two, and Diane grabbed the boy and one of Isenhour's arms, Seyler said. She held onto Isenhour's other arm as Alan motored the boat slowly to the sandbar.
The boy was panicky and kept grabbing for his dad, Seyler said, which made it difficult for Diane to hold them both.
Seyler and Diane, who are nurses, kept telling Isenhour, “Hold onto us. Don't let go. We are almost to shore.”
Isenhour's face was blue, Seyler said, but he was conscious.
The Zachariases called 911, and the nurses were able to stabilize Isenhour on the sandbar.
“I took his pulse and I knew he was going to be all right when we got him to shore,” Seyler said. “The guy threw up a lot of river water, but he pinked up right away.”
Isenhour was taken in good condition to the Nebraska Medical Center.
The Zachariases and Seyler also towed the second adult to safety.
“It happened so fast,” Seyler said. “It could have very easily been a tragedy if we had been two minutes later.”