Good Samaritan recalls decision to save woman in White River

Keith Smedema held onto a woman until rescuers arrived.

The man who jumped into the White River to save a woman Thursday afternoon is talking about his rush to action.

Video from Chopper 13 showed Keith Smedema holding the woman in the frigid waters until rescuers arrived.

"The shock of the water was just unbelievable," he said.

Smedema decided to spend Thursday afternoon riding the Cultural Trail on a bicycle. WHen he reached the old Washington Street bridge, something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.

"I just saw a flash in my peripheral vision, something going on and I distinctly heard the plop," Smedema said.

The plop he heard was a woman hitting the water from the bridge. After questioning himself if she jumped or fell, he heard a plea for help and jumped into action.

"She asked for help and there were some other people walking by and I yelled at them to call 911," he said.

A caller told a 911 dispatcher what was happening.

"I just saw one man jumping from the bridge to save someone. They both are in the water and they need help to get them out," the caller said.

After wading in the water for about 20 minutes, Smedema had a chance to talk to the woman. He says he wanted to know how it happened.

"There were some ducks below and she was leaning over to take some pictures of the ducks and she leaned over too far and fell in," he said.

Eventually, firefighters arrived and rescued both from the freezing water. But Smedema says he had already started feeling the effects.

"My feet became very numb, my lower body. But as you see from the pictures, my upper body and torso were out of the water," he said.

The Good Samaritan says since the only damage is to the iPhone he forgot to remove before jumping, he would do it again if it meant saving someone's life.