Corion Evans, 16, is getting major praise after jumping into a river in Mississippi early Sunday morning and rescuing three teenage girls as their car sank — and coming to the aid of a police officer who also jumped in to help but began to struggle.
What are the details?
Authorities said the three girls were in a car on the Interstate 10 boat launch that ended up in the Pascagoula River and began to sink, WLOX-TV reported.
“They drove straight under the water,” Evans told WLOX. “Like, only a little bit of the car was still above the water.”
With that, Evans told the station he tossed off his shoes, shirt, and phone — and jumped into the river.
“I was just like, ‘I can’t let none of these folks die. They need to get out the water.’ So, I just started getting them,” the Pascagoula High student added to WLOX. “I wasn’t even thinking about nothing else.”
Evans added to the station that he was "behind them trying to keep them above water and swim with them at the same time."
He wasn't the only hero of the morning. One of Evans' friends — Karon “KJ” Bradley — jumped in as well and helped get the girls to the top of their vehicle, WLOX reported.
Evans — who's been swimming since he was about three years old — not only helped bring the three girls to shore but also came to the aid of Moss Point Police Officer Gary Mercer who swam out to help, the station said.
“I turned around. I see the police officer,” Evans added to WLOX. “He’s drowning. He’s going underwater, drowning, saying, ‘Help!” So, I went over there. I went and I grabbed the police officer, and I’m like swimming him back until I feel myself I can walk.”
In the aftermath, he told the station the victims were "throwing up because a lot of water had got inside all of them. Twenty five yards [from shore], so it was a lot of swimming. My legs were so tired after. Anything could’ve been in that water, though. But I wasn’t thinking about it.”
Officer Mercer and the three girls were taken to a hospital and are recovering, WLOX said, adding that Mercer is expected to be back on duty later this week.
'Saved my life right before my last breath'
Marquita Evans expressed pride in her son, saying he "wasn’t just thinking about himself. He was trying to really get all those people out the water. I’m glad nothing happened to him while he was trying to save other people’s lives," the station said.
Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley released the following statement to WLOX: “The police department and I commend Mr. Evans’s bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger. If Mr. Evans had not assisted, it could have possibly turned out tragically instead of all occupants rescued safely.”
One of the rescued girls, Cora Watson, went on Facebook to reveal that Evans “saved my life right before my last breath," the station said.