Treading water UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 30, 2009

Treading water UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 12:25 PM

KARK caught this video of a woman and a child being rescued after her SUV headed into high-water on 7th street last night.  Dramatic stuff.  Both were okay.  Let this be a warning to you.  

UPDATE: The Times has managed to get hold of Thomas Hudson, the young man seen in the KARK video heroically swimming out to rescue a mother and her young child from a submerged car on 7th street last night.

Hudson, a local photographer, said that he had gone to Whitewater Tavern for a drink, and had heard about flooding below the nearby viaduct. One car had already been submerged there, though the occupants were able to escape unharmed. While in the bar, Hudson and other patrons decided to walk over to 7th Street to see if the car had been pulled out yet. That's when they saw another car, the SUV seen in the video, go into the water.

The SUV didn't seem to have gone in very deep before stalling out, Hudson said, so he decided to back his truck down to where it sat and see if he could pull it out with a strap he had in his pickup. By the time he got his truck to the edge of the water, however, the SUV had started to float. It was soon dragged by the current into deeper water, and began to rapidly sink. The woman inside yelled to him that she couldn't swim, and that there was a child inside. By that time, a firetruck had arrived, but the firefighters were still staging their gear. That's when Hudson made a decision. "I said screw it, and I went in," he said.

By the time he reached the SUV, only the back windows were above water. The doors were locked. In the light from the firetruck, he saw the child's face pressed into a tiny pocket of air at the back of the car. He tried punching out the window, he said, but couldn't break it. Soon, a firefighter arrived with an axe and broke the window. The firefighter pulled out the child, while Hudson managed to pull the woman out by her leg. 

In the end, the Arkansas Times asked Hudson the obvious question: when there were so many other people around, why was he the only one who went in to save the woman and her child? His answer is a near-perfect encapsulation of what it is to be a hero: "My thought is that if you're in a position to help someone and you can do it, you have a moral obligation to do it," he said. "I ask the opposite question: what if I hadn't done it?"


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