“When I Lifted Him Up, I Said, ‘Can You Hear Me?’ And He Said, ‘I’m Dying’”

On Wednesday, 4 September 2013, Bart Griffiths retrieved a ball that Grant Calverley had hit for a home run in a Recreation League men’s softball game at the Willow Park Sports Complex in Logan, Utah. He also saved a man’s life. The ball had landed just beyond the left-center-field fence, which is near an irrigation canal. Mr. Griffiths said, “I picked up the ball, and I was flipping it and just walking back to bring it in and, I mean, I don’t know what made me glance over there. I mean, I was on the other side of the parking lot.” He added, “I was picking it up and walking back in, and I glanced over toward the swamp and I thought I saw something gray. What it was, was the tire of the wheelchair sticking up. And I thought, ‘Why is somebody dumping something in the swamp?’ … And when I went over to investigate and I saw the wheelchair, I thought, ‘Oh my heck, somebody dumped a wheelchair.’ And then I thought, ‘Why would somebody do that?’ But then I went to further investigate and then I saw this body face down in the water, just from the waist down.” A man who said that he was 62 years old had crashed his wheelchair into the canal and had flown face first out of the wheelchair. Although the water is only six inches deep, the man was in danger of drowning. For about 15 to 30 minutes, he had using his elbows to lift his face out of the water so that he could breathe, but he was growing weak. Mr. Griffiths said, “When I lifted him up, I said, ‘Can you hear me?’ And he said, ‘I’m dying.’ And I thought to myself, oh, [his talking is] a good sign.” Mr. Griffiths called 911. The ambulance arrived, and paramedics took the man to a hospital. After the man was treated at the hospital, he was given a citation for intoxication. Mr. Griffiths said, “It’s not in my job description to retrieve balls. I’m supposed to be there supervising the fields, so I just do it for the exercise, but if Grant [Calverley] wouldn’t have hit his [homer], I don’t think I would have been back out there since Wednesday was the last day we had games that week. So even right now, that guy might have still been in there.” Does Mr. Griffiths think of himself as a hero? He replied, “I don’t. I feel like I did what 99.9 percent of everybody would do. I was just in the right spot at the right time, I guess.”

For Further Information: Jason Turner, “Drowning man saved after home run leads rescuer to Logan canal.” The Herald-Journal (Logan, Utah). 8 September 2013


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