Image: Robert Hillier

It was the right place at the right time for a Saginaw man enjoying time at a Northern Michigan lake.

Robert Hillier was at Gun Lake when he heard a cry for help coming from someone who had fallen into the water.

Hillier along with four other people reacted quickly to help save the man’s life.

“It was a group effort,” said Robert Hillier.

Hillier said he was on shore when he heard a man fall from his pontoon boat.

“We heard a loud help and then two softer help, help,” Hillier said.

Hillier said he dove in, swimming out while pushing a small aluminum boat. He said that by the time he reached him, he knew he had to act quickly.

“I grabbed that handle and lifted him up. He was about a foot underwater at the time. I lifted him out of the water, he wasn’t breathing, he was purple,” Hillier said.

He said that he tried to bring him back with the help of another person who has swum out.

“He threw up a bunch of water and he started snoring. It sounded like he was snoring, but he was breathing,” Hillier said.

By then, someone else had arrived with their motorized craft and started pushing Hillier’s boat to shore where first responders were waiting.

“Fifteen minutes later he was walking and talking, and it just ended great,” Hillier said.

Hillier credits his workouts at the YMCA of Saginaw for giving him the ability to save that man’s life.

“I’ve been lifting weights recently for about the last three months. And it just came in so handy that day when I didn’t realize how but it did,” Hillier said.

Hillier said he even ran a 20k a couple of days later, in the annual Volkslaufe Race in Frankenmuth.

“We were all part of God’s plan that day,” Hillier said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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