KLEW Community Hero: A Bystander Jumps into Snake River to Save Boy’s Life


A boy's life is possibly saved all because of the heroic actions of a bystander. A man happened to be in the right place at the right time earlier Monday, when an elementary schooler fell off the Southway Bridge.

Around 3 o’clock Monday, emergency crews responded to reports of a person that fell off the Southway Bridge. But when they arrived, they found nobody in the Snake River. That's because the person who fell had already been saved.

"I hear this big thud out of the water. Sounded just like a rock," says Saxxon Vaughn.

Saxxon Vaughn happened to be in the right place at the right time, talking about his future with his family.

"I look back and for a minute nothing came up, and then I see a head pop up. He was swimming ok for a minute, and then he started screaming for help," he says.

It was a boy, around ten or so years old, far out into the river.

Sydnee Irelan, the woman with Vaughn called 911, and Saxxon jumped into the freezing cold water, clothes still on, to try to save the ten year old boy from being even further hurt.

"I was just scared that he was not going to make it. That water was really cold, I was losing my breath myself, so I could just imagine how young of a child for that."

The water was so cold, that Saxxon instantly had his breath taken away, so much, he says, it made it hard to breathe. He was in the water for just under five minutes, but Saxxon knew he had to get to the boy quickly, because the boy had been in the water much longer.

"The kid was probably in there for a good eight to ten minutes maybe. He was struggling, bad."

But Saxxon says even if he put himself in harm’s way, it's the right thing to do.

"Seems like a good Samaritan thing to do. It would be something I would want someone to do for me if I needed the help."

Emergency crews don't know if the fall was accidental or on purpose. No word yet on the condition of the boy that fell off the Southway Bridge, but Jackie Nichols with the Asotin County Sheriff's Office says emergency crews do expect him to survive.

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