Officer jumps into frigid river to save man's life - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Officer jumps into frigid river to save man's life

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Lt. Jason Cripps jumped into a frigid river to save a man's life in Porterdale on Wednesday. Lt. Jason Cripps jumped into a frigid river to save a man's life in Porterdale on Wednesday.
NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. -

A police officer jumps into a frigid river to save a man's life in Porterdale on Wednesday.

Lt. Jason Cripps says he didn't even think before jumping into the Yellow River after a 60-year-old man jumped off a bridge around lunchtime.

"You could tell his hands were all, I guess, curled up from the cold and he said he couldn't swim. He was kind of bobbing…like an apple. He rolled on his side and head went under and in I went," Cripps said.

Cripps said he was surprised at how quickly he became exhausted from the frosty water.

"It took my breath away," Cripps said. "When I finally got to him, he's like, ‘I just don't want to go on anymore. I don't want to live anymore.' I said, 'not on my watch.' And then I realized, ‘Oh man it's cold.' I couldn't breathe, I started to gasp for air."

Cripps said he was determined to pull the man out.

"I've always heard stories about people saying in frigid water, when rescuers go in, they end up dying…I thought to myself, I'm not going to be that person…I just fought and fought, wrapped my legs around him and just kind of backstroked him out," Cripps said.

Ironically, Lt. Cripps says the same man he rescued, several years ago, threatened his life.

"Wanted to dismember me and bury me next to the river. Right in the same location I pulled him out of it. So just kind of ironic again," Cripps said.

The officer said he doesn't regret his actions.

"I'd do it tomorrow again. It's just part of it," Cripps said.

Cripps said that it took him about an hour to warm up after jumping in to the water. He said the victim had purple lips and hypothermia. He said that the man's family came to the police station to thank him.

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