BRADENTON (FOX 13) - A group of boy scouts on retreat rushed to help a father and son after hearing their cries for help on the Upper Manatee River.
As a boy scout, Caleb Savage and others earn merit badges based on hard work and success - training for every situation. Now, Savage and his friends can say they put those skills to use helping save someone's life.
"I kind of always had it in the back of my head that one day, someday something drastic is going to happen," Caleb said.
Saturday, just before dusk a group of more than 500 scouts heard yells for help coming from the upper Manatee River. The large group was on a retreat at Camp Flying Eagle.
"From where we were standing we could only hear the people, but had no idea where they were," said Bill Lawrence, District Director for the Southwest Florida Council.
Caleb said he was eating when a friend ran up, telling him what was going on.
"It really struck me as 'this is not good. We've got to go,'" he explained.
The two scouts, along with a nurse and a Manatee County deputy, got into a canoe and went about a mile up river.
"The first first thing we saw was the flipped boat and the father," Caleb said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife said Christopher Baker and his 7-year-old son were thrown from their boat when it flipped. Calls to 911 had been coming into the Manatee County call center.
"I actually saw the two baby life jackets float down the river. That is what caught my eye. I thought it was an alligator," a caller said.
They were going down the river when they hit something in the water.
"We were able to talk to him. He said his leg is caught under the motor and his son is trying to help him," a 911 caller told the operator.
The scouts pulled Baker's son into their canoe and helped him to land.
"He was very pale, he was hypothermic because the water was cold. He was making slight groaning noises," Caleb remembered.
Baker and his son were Bay-flighted to the hospital. That's when the scouts say they realized the importance of their skills.
"You don't ever know if they are going to reuse those skills and when," said Lawrence.
The FWC continues to investigate the accident.