Potomac River

Men Brave Potomac's Strong Currents to Save Drowning Teen

"There was nothing to do other than the right thing, get out there and try to help,” one rescuer said

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Three friends are being celebrated for their heroism on the Potomac River after jumping in to save a 17-year-old who was drowning.

The teen had tried to swim from the Virginia side of the river to the Maryland side and got overwhelmed by strong currents.

Friends Casey Clagett, Carlton Johnson and Dominque Hunter were hiking the Billy Goat Trail Sunday evening when they noticed the teenager struggling in the water.

“I think he had already drowned by the time I saw him. There was nothing to think about, there was nothing to do other than the right thing, get out there and try to help,” Clagett said.

All three went into the water, where the current was powerful and exhausting.

“CJ got on left. I got on the right. And I was holding his head up. We got him to shore as fast as we could, “Johnson said.

The young men started CPR. Then, the teen started to breathe.

“If I had kids my own, I’d want someone to do that for my child as well,” Johnson said.

“I’m just happy a 17-year-old is going to graduate,” Clagett said.

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Spokesperson Pete Piringer applauds the trio.

“These guys put themselves in harm’s way, had a positive outcome and did some life-saving actions,” Piringer said.

As for the teen, he’s recovering from this near-death experience.

After the rescue, the trio walked to the Old Angler’s Inn. Seeing them drenched, a musician bought them a round of cold beers as a well-deserved reward.

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