Witnesses rush to save driver trapped in car in Idaho river

People rushed to save a 91-year-old man trapped inside a car in a river in Idaho.

People rushed to save a 91-year-old man trapped inside a car in a river in Idaho.

Idaho County Sheriff’s Office

More than a dozen people rushed to save a 91-year-old man trapped inside a car in a river in Idaho, officials said.

Between 15 and 20 people passing on Highway 12 in Idaho County stopped to help, officials with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. The car was stuck about 50 feet from the bank of the Lochsa River on Thursday, June 8 just before 2 p.m., and a 91-year-old man from Whitefish, Montana, was trapped inside.

Officials did not have all the names of those who rushed in to help but identified Keegan Fancher and JT Sohr.

Sohr, a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, had recently finished swiftwater rescue training, officials said. He quickly put his new skills to work and used his personal rafting equipment to get the man safely out of the car.

He lost about $250 worth of his equipment down the river in the process, officials said. Sheriff’s officials said he would be reimbursed for the lost equipment after several people offered to replace it in comments on the post.

“It’s moments like these that remind us that we live in a wonderful area full of kind and courageous people who are willing to help their fellow man,” officials said. “We are truly thankful for the help of JT, Keegan, and all others.”

People shared their disbelief in the comments that Sohr happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“(The driver) is a lucky man to have had someone so skilled on the scene,” someone said.

Others said they were touched that so many people stopped to help.

“This helps raise my faith in humanity,” someone commented. “Kudos to all of those who stopped and assisted!”

Brooke (she/them) is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter who covers LGBTQ+ news and national parks out west. They studied journalism at the University of Florida, and previously covered LGBTQ+ news for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. When they’re not writing stories, they enjoy hanging out with their cats, riding horses or spending time outdoors.

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