Survivor, rescuer recount deadly Spur Pond tragedy
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. —
"He was screaming for help. There was about three other people there, and nobody could swim. So, I unlaced my boots, took my hoodie and shirt off, and I went in after him."
Those are the words of Tyler Hance, 25, of Upstate New York.
Hance has been identified as the good Samaritan that jumped into Spur Pond on Tuesday, to rescue Christian Perez, 62, of Kirksville.
Perez has been recovering at Northeast Regional Medical Center since the incident.
Hance says he is in the Kirksville area for work, and told KTVO he was traveling back to a work site on Tuesday near Spur Pond.
"We were going by the pond and we saw people running. There was a car in the pond, and just the back end was sticking out. I told my general foreman to pull over. I ran up the hill, and he [Perez] was in the water, and the car was gone."
Hance and Perez met in person on Thursday, for the first time since Tuesday's incident.
"I don't know how I got from under the ice, to where he found me," said Perez. "Didn't you say you went two feet and straight down?"
"Straight down. Dropped off," answered Hance.
"And it didn't take, you couldn't have said my name twice, and it was over. From beginning to end. I'm grateful for this man. He's a true hero," added Perez.
Hance says he didn't think twice before jumping into the icy water to rescue Perez.
"When I grabbed a hold of him, he didn't move much. When I got him to shore, they helped him out and started chest compression's."
Perez told KTVO that the incident left him with five broken ribs.
KTVO asked Perez if he could recount the details of Tuesday afternoon.
"I remember having my head down, my eyes closed - bright day, and I heard a bang. Next thing you know, we are in the water. I pulled myself out and you know that every flood, car accident I've ever seen, is just like that. The water pushed me back into the vehicle. I saw ice. I remember being under the ice... hitting the ice... and my hand, after that, it was yellow, green.. and [then] looked like a bright flash and then I was on the beach. Everything was black and cold."
Perez says that he will be forever grateful for Hance's actions, and that the two are now family.
This tragedy claimed the life of Dakota Davis, 26, of Kirksville.
What caused the SUV to end up in Spur Pond remains under investigation.