Would-be rescuer called a hero - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Would-be rescuer called a hero

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

August 4, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The body of 23-year-old D. J. Vinson was recovered around 10:00 Monday morning.

He drowned while trying to save two little boys who were struggling in the Flint River Sunday.

The incidents happened just below the Flint RiverQuarium, near Riverfront Park, Sunday afternoon about 5:00.

Rescue divers say the current is strong in the river here, despite its calm appearance on the surface.

Vinson's body was found near where the body of 11-year-old Joshua Perry was found Sunday evening.  Witnesses say two boys went into the river, and four others went in to rescue them. They were successful in getting one boy out.

One rescuer, Rick Porter, said the scene was chaotic, as they fought the current, and two panicking children.

"One boy grabbed the top of my head to get above the water, and ended up taking me under, and so D. J. Vinson, the hero of the day, swam over there and got this kid off my back. He got on D. J.'s back, and D. J. struggled with him. I got back up the shore, collapsed from how tired I was, and got my phone. I called the police, and watched everything unfold from there. It wasn't good. D. J. just went under, and I never saw him come back up," says Porter.

Vinson was a student at Darton College, and was considering moving on the Valdosta State. He was an alumnus of Albany High, and ran his own lawn business.

Vinson is being called a hero by witnesses and rescuers for his attempts to save the drowned child.

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