Tyler James Hance saved Christian B. Perez from drowning, Kirksville, Missouri, December 11, 2018. Perez, 62, was a front-seat passenger in a sport utility vehicle that left a road and entered an ice-covered pond. Perez released his seat belt and exited the vehicle through the window opening of his door. Perez yelled for help in the 12-foot-deep water before floating face-up about 30 feet from the pond’s bank. Hance, 25, brush removal laborer, was riding in a truck past the pond with his foreman when he spotted the vehicle sinking. Hance’s foreman stopped the truck, and Hance got out and ran to the pond where he heard Perez’s calls for help. Hance removed his boots, shirt, and work jacket and, dressed only in his jeans, waded then swam to Perez from the bank in the 39-degree water. Perez became non-responsive as Hance grasped him. With difficulty, Hance side-stroked with his right arm while grasping Perez’s shoulder with his left hand. Hance, swimming toward a spot on the bank about 40 feet away, towed Perez. About 15 feet from the bank, Hance submerged and, nearly exhausted, called for help. Two police officers and Hance’s foreman, in wadable water about 5 feet from the bank, were able to reach Hance and Perez and pull them from the pond. Paramedics revived Perez, and he recovered after several days in the hospital. Hance donned dry clothes and warmed himself in a heated police car.
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