Man jumps into frigid lake to save couple

Thursday, October 30th 2008, 9:45 am
By: News 9

By Doug Warner, NEWS 9

BRAGGS, Okla. -- Josh Countryman didn't think twice about jumping into an ice-cold lake.

The Bethany man heard a call for help and leaped to action earning him a nomination as a NEWS 9 Oklahoma hero.

Countryman was camping last March at Greenleaf State Park near Braggs when he heard screaming. A couple had tipped over their canoe on the lake.

"I just hit the water and started swimming as fast as I could," he said.

Countryman was a welcome relief for the stranded canoeist who was struggling to support his partner.

"The man pushed the girl toward me," Countryman said. "He said he couldn't hold her up any longer so I grabbed a hold of her."

Fortunately their calls for help were heard by someone else. Laney Watson put his boat in the water and arrived just in time to pull all three people from the 40-degree water.

"I just kept hearing this 'help, help', and I kept looking around," Watson said. "When we got them in the boat, their skin was turning blue and they were like touching ice."

Countryman's mother, Tamara, nominated him for the award because of his bravery.

"There could have been a bad ending; I can't believe it," she said. "Everybody had somebody. Everyone was being rescued."

At the end of the nine week series, viewers will vote on for the 2008 NEWS 9 Oklahoma Hero.  Later in December, NEWS 9 will broadcast the 5 and 6pm newscasts live from the winner's hometown.