Local News

Teens Rescue Man From Pond

Posted July 23, 2007 2:57 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2007 9:57 p.m. EDT

— Hunter and Kyle Ocheltree thought they would get some entertainment Sunday night at a pond near their house. They wound up rescuing a man from the water instead.

Their father called the 15-year-old twins away from watching Die Hard II in their Oxton Circle home to see Donald Thomas and his dogs shoo away nuisance geese from Pinewild Country Club about 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Thomas, who lives in the West End area of Moore County, was hired by Pinewild to scare geese away a few times a month so they wouldn't take up residence on the golf course.

Thomas was in a 12-foot johnboat on a pond in Pinewild when one of his dogs jumped in the water.

"And that's when we saw him. He tried to stand up to pull one of his dogs in the boat. That's when fell over the side," said Kyle.

Residents said Thomas, who is in his 60s, knows how to swim but was wearing heavy boots and equipment and panicked. His boat also took on water and began to sink, witnesses said.

"He came back up, gasping for air, and he was yelling 'help' across the water," said Kyle.

The Ocheltree boys ran along the shore line, jumped into the pond and swam toward  Thomas.

“Hunter got to him first, and I got there about 10 seconds later, and we both put an arm underneath both of his,” said Kyle.

The boys pulled him to shore, and a nearby resident called 911.

"They (the 911 dispatcher) told him to put a blanket over the top of him, and we elevated the head with the dog's life vest," said Kyle.

Thomas was in the intensive care unit at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital on Monday, but his condition has stabilized. Doctors said they believe he might have suffered a heart attack.

"Me and my brother, we were just basically trying to help him, and basically just trying to save his life and making sure he didn't get hurt," said Hunter.