By Jim Melwert and Steve Patterson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A boater who fell into the Schuylkill River on Monday morning was rescued, thanks to a Good Samaritan.
It was around 6:30 a.m. when John Hewson and his boating partner Jeremy had wrapped up their workout and were heading back to the docks. But as they neared the lighthouse on Kelly Drive, Hewson says, Jeremy had a seizure, the boat tipped and dumped them both into the frigid waters of the river.
Hewson grabbed his partner and called for help, struggling to keep the 6′-4″ man above the surface.
Drexel University rowing coach Tim Drake was first to spot the men on his motorized launch.
‘’He wasn’t looking too healthy at the time,” Drake said.
He called 911, but before he could get close enough to assist he heard a splash.
“The shock of someone jumping in the water was like ‘oh no more people in the water, it’s cold, stop!” Drake said.
Stephen Giorgio was out for a run along Kelly Drive when he says he saw a boat tipped over, and someone yelling for help.
“I just took off my running jacket and my shoes and jumped in,” Giorgio said.
Speaking with CBS3, Giorgio says he did misjudge the jump, and he scraped himself up pretty good on some rocks as he jumped in, but he explains why he jumped in.
“He said he needed help, what else am I supposed to do just stare at him? His friend didn’t look like he was doing too well, I figured I’d do whatever I could to help him out,” Giorgio said.
Coaches from the Drexel crew team pulled Jeremy back to safety on the motorized launch.
And as quickly as Giorgio jumped in, he left.
“I mean that guy was a hero really. He saw a situation and just jumped in and helped out,” Drexel University crew head coach Paul Savelle said.
Giorgio refuses to admit he’s a hero. He was offered a shower and change of clothes, but he says he just rinsed off his cuts, rung out his shorts, put his shoes and jacket back on and finished his run.
“I shook John’s hand, said hope he does well and ran back to my apartment actually,” Giorgio said.
Hewson says Jeremy was responsive as rescue crews were taking him to Hahnemann University Hospital.
“We were in (the water) about five, ten minutes,” he says, “so he was pretty blue, but he was lucid, he knew his name, knew his birthday, so it was coming back.”
What he did might have saved a life, but Giorgio says he was just helping out.
“I feel like I did what I was supposed to do,” he said.
“I say thanks and I know Jeremy would say thanks,” Hewson said. “He’s a real hero.”
Jeremy remains hospitalized in fair condition Monday night. Family members tell CBS 3 he is expected to be okay.