Family Member of Young Man Who Drowned Meets Teenager Who Tried To Save Him
Danville, VA -- There was an emotional meeting Tuesday between a family member of the young man who drowned this weekend and a teenager who tried to save him. 18-year-old Kerion Witcher drowned at Fairy Stone State Park on Friday.
The 17-year-old who tried to save Kerion was never trained as a lifeguard. But he says, as an Eagle Scout, he knew he had to do what he could to help someone in need.
"We surely surely appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart, we thank you so much," says Kim Witcher, Kerion's Aunt.
For the first time, Kim Witcher got to meet 17-year-old Zac Hogan. To her, he's a hero.
"I just want to thank you for what you've done. I just want to thank you coming from me, his mom, dad, the whole entire family for what you've done to help find my nephew," says Witcher.
On July 4th, Kim and Zac's paths likely crossed at Fairy Stone State Park. But they didn't know it. Zac went to the lake with his girlfriend. That's when he heard that someone underwater needed help. While most witnesses got out of the water, Zac and a few others teamed up to try to find the missing swimmer.
"What I learned in scouting is that there is a technique called the jellyfish technique that sort of goes like this that helps you propel yourself down in the water," says Hogan.
Zac suspects he went to the bottom of the estimated 12 foot-deep lake 50 times.
"When I was in the water, I just had the thoughts of keep persevering Zac, don't give up, keep looking for the guy," says Hogan.
They found 18-year-old Kerion Witcher but it was too late.
"Eventually the guy that was right beside me pulled him up and I helped him pull the guy up. It was a really traumatizing experience," says Hogan.
Kerion was later pronounced dead. But Kim hopes Zac knows how much they appreciate his help.
"I thank you for not giving up because Kerion's word always to anybody were don't give up," says Witcher.
Representatives for the park say they are investigating what happened. They tell us so far everything they've seen indicates the lifeguards followed procedures. But they ask that anyone who witnessed what happened to call them at (276) 930-2424.