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Chicago Sailor Saves Wheelchair Bound Man Who Fell Into Lake Michigan

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Lisa Fielding Lisa Fielding
Lisa Fielding is a news anchor and reporter for Newsradio 780. She...
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(CBS) — Brian Wiles was on board a friend’s power boat in Monroe Harbor on Saturday when he saw it happen.

“I thought I was watching a movie. Then I realized what was happening.”

The man and his caretaker were watching the Chicago Air and Water Show near the Chicago Yacht club when the man’s wheelchair rolled into the water.

“I saw the wheelchair take a right angle and go into the water. I dove off the boat and went into rescue mode. He wasn’t strapped in so he was already going under. That’s when I grabbed him, secured him and carried him back to shore. His caretaker was in the water too, but she couldn’t handle him by herself.”

Chicago Sailor Saves Wheelchair Bound Man Who Fell Into Lake Michigan

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Wiles estimates the man was a few feet from the breaker wall and struggling in about 12 feet of water. Wiles is a trained captain so he said he used his training to react but says it’s the first time he’s ever saved anyone.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling. I’m just glad I was there. I wasn’t about to let someone drown in Lake Michigan,” he added “I’m not a hero. Heroes wear capes and do special things, I just did what needed to be done.”

The man is in good condition and was in good spirits after his rescue. Wiles had a minor finger injury.

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