Bartlesville Man Meets Officers Who Saved Him From Boating Accident
BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma - Two Bartlesville Police Officers making their rounds Thursday night ended up making a life-saving lake rescue. Officers heard the cries of a fisherman floating beside his boat out in the middle of Hudson Lake.
On Friday, the grateful fisherman met his rescuer for the first time since the accident, and Rich Kowalczyk couldn’t thank the officer enough for saving his life.
“It was like God sent a couple of Guardian Angels last night," he said.
Kowalczyk fell off his boat while fishing on Bartlesville's Hudson Lake. He clung to his boat for several minutes wondering who would come to his rescue.
Officer Cheyenne Lee and his partner Jarred Burdick were out on patrol and just happened to swing by the boat landing.
"You could tell it was somebody hollering, just almost couldn't tell what and we start shining our lights through the water and then we hear a 'help,’" Lee said.
When officers heard the calls for help from Kowalczyk, they spotted him about 50 yards out in the lake. Officer Burdick radioed for help and Lee grabbed Kowalczyk, bringing him safely back to shore.
Rich Kowalczyk, Boater,"He got out of that bullet proof vest and everything else and out to get me,” Kowalczyk said.
Kowalczyk walked away after being checked out by medics on shore. The fire department even hauled out his boat so he could fish another day.
Kowalczyk just can't believe the timing.
"You guys coming down the hill and seeing those lights, that was just unbelievable," he said.
Officers Lee and Burdick are being nominated for the department's Life Saving Award because of their quick action in saving the Kowalczyk's life.
“I'm not a hero, I'm just a cop that did my job," Lee said.