Tulsa Firefighters Pull Naked Swimmer Out Of Arkansas River

Sunday, September 1st 2013, 1:24 pm
By: Dee Duren

Tulsa firefighters fished a naked swimmer out of the Arkansas River Sunday morning who was not completely cooperative with emergency workers trying to help him.

It happened at about 9:30 a.m. near the 21st Street bridge.

A witness tells News On 6 that he and some friends were on a dock with picnic area on the east side of the river. One friend, a man who was sitting on a wooden railing, did an unexpected "gymnastics" move.

"He was relaxing and he was drinking a little bit," said Kenneth Testerman.

"He just flipped his feet head over heel, tumbled down the hill, stumbled three times and hit his head right on the rock," Testerman said. "It started spewing blood."

Testerman and some other people helped the man back up on the dock. The man said he wasn't hurt, but Testerman called 911.

"Then he jumps in the river after I called an ambulance just trying to help him," he said.

Sergeant Ted Umbarger with the Tulsa Police Department confirmed that the man ran into the river when EMSA medics tried to treat the cut on his head.

Testerman said he and some other people tried to get the man to come out of the river but the man said he didn't want help for his "stupidity."

"After that, he was just swimming down the river," he said, "doing his routine."

Law enforcement and a Tulsa Fire Department water rescue team were called.

The man was swimming backwards and floating until the fire department crew managed to haul him into a rescue boat. The man lost his clothes at some point during the swim.

Umbarger said the man was taken to the hospital to be treated. He has not been arrested, the sergeant said.