A boy apparently saved his father from drowning in Lake Whatcom on Sunday afternoon, July 31, although details of the incident remain unclear.
Firefighters and medics were called to an emergency at the Bloedel Donovan Park swimming area about 2:20 p.m. Sunday, said Bill Hewett, assistant chief of the Bellingham Fire Department.
Bloedel Donovan is a city park with a beach that is especially popular with swimmers during the summer.
“When we arrived, we found a male age 40 and it sounds like his son, a teenager,” Hewett said. “The father and son had been swimming out to one of the pilings” that jut from the water about 100 to 200 feet offshore. “I’m not sure where they were when the dad started having some difficulty.”
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Hewett said the father began struggling and went under water for about 15 seconds, according to witnesses. He said the man was conscious and breathing when aid arrived. The father was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital.
Because of medical privacy laws, Hewett could not disclose further details of the incident, including the names of the father and son. Firefighters who assisted the victim were off duty Monday, Aug. 1.
“The son was able to get him in to shore,” Hewett said. “At the very least, the son definitely helped dad back to shore.”