Residents in Madison County are singing the praises of a young teen who saved a man's life. The 17-year-old pulled a man to safety after his car veered off the road right into the Bradley Brook Reservoir. YNN's Crystal Cranmore has details about the dramatic rescue.
EATON, N.Y. -- “I honestly don’t feel like a hero,” said Alex Travis.
But that's what residents in Madison County are calling the 17-year-old. A young man whose quick thinking helped save a man's life.
Travis and his grandfather were driving along the Bradley Brook Reservoir when something grabbed their attention.
“We went around a turn and I just saw a car floating in the water. Automatically I was like, I saw a person in there and I was like, ‘We need to save him,’” said Travis.
“I said, ‘Just hold a second,’ I wanted to give us a second to assess to make sure there was no debris in the water that we jump into,” said Gary Knupp, Travis' grandfather.
But Travis had already made up his mind.
“It’s just instinct. I didn’t really think at all,” said Travis.
He swam toward the submerged car. Inside, he found Stuart Deland, 92. Police say Deland was driving along Westcott Road when he lost control of the vehicle, going over the bank and into the reservoir. Travis spoke to Deland through a crack in the driver’s side window.
“I swam over to the car and I started to talk to him and asked him, ‘Are you okay,’” said Travis.
Knupp said, “I yelled out to him, ‘Do you need me?’ And his adrenaline was pumping. I think he heard me say go to the back seat.”
“I was like, ‘The car is going to fill up with water and you need to hold your breath and I opened the back door and the water was rushing in,” said Travis.
After a failed attempt at trying to pull Deland out from the back seat, Travis took another breath of air and attempted to break open the driver side window.
“I just kept pulling and pulling and eventually it just smashed and I pulled him through,” said Travis.
"When I saw he pulled him out the window and I saw that he was conscious I said, 'Okay we're good,'" said Knupp.
Travis pulled Delaney safely to shore. He hopes everyone would make the same decision.
“I feel like that’s what you should do. I would want someone to do that for me if I were drowning,” said Travis.
After being pulled from the vehicle, Deland was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary measures.