By Carlos Padilla
On occasion, having the right person in the right place at the right time can make all the difference.
On Saturday, July 14, two 16-year-old males from Horizon City, Texas, had been swimming in the waters of the Rio Grande near the Caballo Dam, according to Caballo State Park Marine Enforcement Officer Saul Gonzalez, when they apparently got caught up in an undertow current that swept them down the center of the river. The two young men were apparently unable to escape the current, and floated quite a distance, approximately one half mile, along Caballo Dam Campground and Riverside Campground.
Campers along the river, including family members of one of the teens, saw the young men caught in the current, their heads reportedly barely breaking the surface of the fast-flowing waters.
Downstream, Brad Spencer – a Truth or Consequences Fire Department captain who is also employed with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department – was wrapping up an afternoon of fishing, and was heading back to camp when he was waved down by a man running towards him, yelling, “They’re drowning.”
Spencer, who was camping nearby with friends, stopped and grabbed rope and, along with another man, went into the water and pulled one of the teens from the river moments after the other teen made it to the shore on his own. The young man who was able to get to shore on his own was transported to Sierra Vista Hospital after he reportedly passed out.
Marine Enforcement Officer Gonzalez reminds the public to remember to use personal flotation devices when going into the water.
Contacted by The Herald, Spencer downplayed his role in the rescue, stating, “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” This writer agrees, but would add that it always helps to have the right kind of person there at those times.