Amidst the winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow in the D.C. area, Dave Dildine ventured out to Rock Creek Park on Sunday to capture what he hoped would be the perfect photo.
Dildine, a reporter and photographer for WTOP, is used to taking photos of weather events.
He pointed his camera toward the snow-covered Boulder Bridge and got the shot.
But the peace and serenity of the snow didn't last long.
"Snow's falling heavily. It is just ripping right now. I'm walking down that trailhead. I hear screaming, look over that bridge railing and there she is in a pool of water," Dildine told News4 at the very spot where he heard the woman screaming.
Sarah Kirkpatrick, 27, had fallen in the water and was struggling to get out.
"I said, 'Hang on!' I ran around the bridge, down this trail and once I got to the embankment, that's when she went under."
The frigid cold immobilized Kirkpatrick. She couldn't speak.
Dildine jumped into the water. He says he grabbed her by the collar got her onto the shore.
"She was shivering. She was moaning. It was a really tense situation, obviously," he said.
He wasn't sure if she would survive.
"It was scary. And there was a point when she stopped moving, when she went unresponsive that I really started getting scared," Dildine said.
Dildine then made a frantic call to 911.
"I said, 'You've got to get here yesterday. She's barely breathing. We need help - now.'"
With the help of another bystander, Dildine and a paramedic lifted Kirkpatrick into the ambulance.
"She survived and we're all so grateful, really, because it didn't look good when we lifted her into the ambulance. She didn't look good. She made a miraculous turn around."
On Tuesday afternoon, Dildine and Kirkpatrick reunited. You can watch video of their reunion on WTOP's website.
Kirkpatrick said she was running in the park and was also trying to take a photo when she slipped off the raling and into the embankment.
“I remember screaming,” she told WTOP. “I didn’t know anyone was out there. I remember seeing Dave when I was losing it — when I was going under.”
During their meeting, Dildine gave her a framed copy of the photo he believes saved her life. The photo of the snow-covered Boulder Bridge.