An Idaho man, Steven Arrasmith, 34, was hit by a car and knocked off a bridge. He fell 50 feet, landed in the icy Snake River, and somehow managed to make it to shore with a broken leg and survive the ordeal. Despite sustaining a broken leg, Arrasmith kept swimming towards shore in the dark, fighting a strong current in the frigid waters of the Snake River, until he made it to safety on an island on the border of Idaho and Oregon.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Arrasmith said he was kept motivated to continue struggling and fighting to reach land by thinking about his young son. He kept the image of his son in his mind as he fought against the strong current and finally got to the island.
Once at the shore of the island, Arrasmith waited for rescuers. Because of his broken left leg, the Idaho man was unable to pull his entire body out of the water; his feet and legs were still in the water. After he was rescued and awaiting surgery in a hospital, he spoke with the Associated Press (AP) by phone. He said when he hit the water, his main objective was to get to shore.
When he hit the water, despite the fact that the water was icy cold, Arrasmith decided that he needed to remove the Army field jacket he was wearing as it was weighing him down. He feared the jacket would cause him to become waterlogged and make him sink. He was able to remove the jacket and then he continued on in the dark towards the island on the Idaho-Oregon border.
Bill Fugate, the Oregon State Police Captain called Arrasmith “very fortunate.” He added that the man could have easily died from the ordeal.
Arrasmith, who lives in Mesa, Idaho, was on his way to work at the Nampa, Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections, which is a two-hour commute both ways. He was driving a rented Jeep, when he saw the pickup truck in the middle of the road. Arrasmith got out of the Jeep “to make sure everyone inside was all right.”
Another vehicle approached, 2008 Hyundai, driven by Jim Hundall, 68, of Walla Walla, Washington. Hundall hit some black ice, and crashed into the rented Jeep, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The Jeep hit Arrasmith, sending him over a concrete barrier that was approximately waist-high into the icy water, below, though he managed to hang onto the edge of the Snake River Bridge about 10 seconds before he let go.
U.S. News & World Report reported that instead of panicking, Arrasmith coldly calculated where he was. He knew the Snake River well, and did not allow himself to panic when he hit the water.
According to the Mail Tribune, Arrasmith knew that the river where he had fallen in had “a northwest flow.” Oregon was near, and he thought all he had to do was to “continue west.” He said his main concern was to make it to shore and get out of the water and out of his wet clothes, as the temperature outside was a chilly 36 degrees.
Arrasmith thinks he was fully submerged in the river for approximately five to 10 minutes. He said that his legs were in the icy water for about another hour until rescuers were able to wade over from shore and rescue him.
State police said that the people who responded and helped to rescue Arrasmith were drawn by his shouts. Arrasmith stated that his broken leg made it very difficult to get to shore, because it “was just flopping around.” He stated, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, that a police officer waded into the water and gave him a woolen blanket to help him get warm.
Idaho man, Steven Arrasmith, somehow managed to survive getting hit by a car, thrown off a bridge and into the icy waters of the Snake River, despite also suffering a broken leg. He was kept going by thoughts of his young son. The worst part of the entire ordeal, he said, was that he lost his glasses in the river because he cannot drive without them.
By John Samuels
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