Bassmasters save man and his son on Lake Murray - - Columbia, South Carolina

Bassmaster fishermen save man and toddler on Lake Murray

Russ Sorrells and James Niggemeyer Russ Sorrells and James Niggemeyer
Lake Murray Lake Murray

PROSPERITY, SC (WIS) - A man and his toddler son are lucky to be alive because of the quick action by two anglers in town for a fishing tournament.

On Thursday, the first day of the Bassmaster Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash on Lake Murray, James Niggemeyer, a Bassmaster tournament fisherman and his Marshal, Russ Sorrells, were speeding to a fishing spot when they saw something they only ever heard about.

"When you see a head in the water, arms flailing, and a boat running, it's a bad situation," said James. 

They came upon a man and his toddler son in the water and their boat was still under power and heading right toward them. 

"James put the boat we were in, his boat, in front of it," said Russ. "I tried to do everything I could to stop it, but it rammed James' boat."

"Russ was Johnny on the spot," said James. "It was like Baywatch, he jumped in there, killed the ignition and grabbed the boy."

The boy had a life jacket on, his dad didn't, according to the fishermen. 

They say the father had two dogs on his boat and four fishing lines in the water. James and Russ can only guess how father and son ended up in the water.

"Maybe he just looked behind him real quick to check the poles and the next thing you know, his son's in the water and jumped in after him and the boat kept going," said Russ.

However it happened, the two men acted immediately. "You come up on something like this and you're compelled, immediately without thinking, to do something about it," said James.

In all the excitement, the two fishermen never even learned the names of the man and boy. After they recovered, the man took his son and left in his boat.

"You hear the stories of people that got killed doing that exact same thing," said James. "It really kind of shook me up and it rattled me a little.

The Bassmaster tournament includes 99 fishermen and runs through Sunday at Dreher Island State Park. 

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