Off-Duty Officer Rescues California Hiker Swept Into Whirlpool

An off-duty officer rescued a hiker who was swept into a whirlpool in the Willow Creek area of Bass Lake, California, on May 9, authorities said.

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office said the incident began when a 24-year-old Fresno man misjudged the swiftness of the water and decided to walk across Willow Creek near Angel Falls, resulting in him being swept into a whirlpool.

An off-duty California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who is trained in search and rescue was also hiking in the area, and happened to be carrying a rope. Officer Brent Donley was able to pull the man to safety with the help of other good samaritans.

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office shared footage of the dramatic rescue, which was filmed by Christina Donley, the wife of Officer Donley. The sheriff’s office said the man was lucky and should “buy a lottery ticket” after the rescue and encouraged others to make safety part of their plan when hiking in the area. Credit: Christina Donley via Storyful