Grandfather rescues mother, child swept away in White River
A water rescue in Noblesville left one man shaken after he jumped into the White River to save a mother and her child.
It all started when a little boy fell in the river near Potters Bridge on Allisonville Road and his mother went in to try and rescue him. She ended up getting swept downstream holding her little boy, but was unable to get them safely to the riverbank.
It turned into a case of being in the right place at the right time for Dave Norton from Cicero, who happened to be walking on a path near the river with his brother.
"All I saw were the two heads and felt I had to hurry up and get in there because one of them, which was the mother, was sinking quickly," recalled Norton from his Cicero home Saturday night.
Looking back, Norton said he truly has realized there's a reason for everything.
"I was at the right place at the right time," the grandfather of five said.
That rings even truer for Norton, he said, when he considers being there along the river, at that exact moment almost didn't happen.
"Originally, we were looking at maybe going to the zoo and I wasn't feeling real good so we decided maybe just go get some fresh air," Norton explained.
That's how Dave, his wife and brother ended up on a walking path near Potter's Bridge.
"There was a mother with her two children there playing and my brother and I took off from our walk," said Norton.
The pair only got about 100 yards, though, when they heard Dave's wife screaming that someone had fallen in the water.
"I don't know where I got the strength to really do what I did," said Norton.
Wherever that strength came from, though, Norton used it to jump in the river to try and help the woman and her little boy.
"She was going under and then getting her head up real quick to get a gasp of air," Norton recalled. "She was holding on to him still and I was able to kind of come up behind her and just get my arm around her and then get over towards the tree."
The rescue was over within minutes. The magnitude of it all though has still been hitting Norton when he thinks of his own grandchildren and how it could have turned out tragically.
PHOTO: Dave Norton speaks to WTHR's Emily Longnecker at his Cicero home
"It could have happened to them," said Norton, bowing his head, tears falling down his cheeks. "You realize afterwards, I really realized what it was and what could have happened."
The worst didn't happen, though, so there Norton sat, an unlikely hero who said he's just a regular guy.
"We didn't go out there with the intention, we're going to save somebody," said Norton.
He said he's thankful, though, that's what happened.
What Norton didn't know at the time, the woman also had a little girl who had also jumped in to try and help her mother rescue her brother. That little girl ended up holding onto a tree and not getting swept down stream. She was able to get to safety on her own.