Hollis Davist was barbecuing on the Detroit Riverfront with family Wednesday evening when he noticed something out of the ordinary.
Davist showed Scripps News Detroit a video on his cellphone where he and about a dozen other people spotted a man who had fallen about 150 feet from the Ambassador Bridge into the Detroit River.
"Once he hit the water, everyone was just yelling that he fell in the water," Davist said.
The group then noticed that the J.W. Westcott Co. mail office was just feet away.
"We ran over there and banged on the door," Davist said. "These guys jumped on their boat and was out there within a minute and 20 seconds."
Sam Buchanan is the afternoon boat captain at J.W. Westcott Co., and one of the people who answered the door.
"Some folks started banging on our door yelling, saying somebody had fallen into the river. We raced out and we found a man in the water," Buchanan said.
Davist and the group on shore yelled and pointed, directing Buchanan to where the man was.
Finally, Buchanan and his team got to the man, who was bruised by the impact. Barely treading water, they pulled him onto their boat.
"Then, when he pulled him on the boat and I saw the gentleman pick his head up, I was like, ‘Jesus, he’s alive,'" Davist said.
"The man just said that he was working on the bridge and he didn’t know what happened to him," Buchanan said. "We told him, 'You fell from the bridge and we’re here and we pulled you out of the water. I told him my name was Sam. From the moment that the folks in the park saw him fall, I would say it was under two minutes we had him in our boat."
In a statement, Ambassador Bridge officials confirmed the man who fell is a contract worker.
Davist and Buchanan said they had no idea who he was. All they knew is that he was a man in Detroit who needed their help.
"There was probably at least 20 people in this park that were all yelling and pointing trying to help us," Buchanan said. "I thought it was really cool how all the Detroiters came together to rescue this man that nobody knows."
"There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on all over the world but right now, I don’t see it. I don’t see it," Davist said.
The Detroit Fire Department said the man was been taken to a local hospital and is receiving medical treatment.
This story was originally published by Sarah Michals and Chad Britton for Scripps News Detroit.
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