Kodiak state champion swimmer saves California man from drowning

Former Kodiak standout swimmer saves man from drowning
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 8:48 AM AKDT
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SUSANVILLE, California (KTUU) - On a late summer day in Northeast California, Kodiak’s Jackson Krug was cliff jumping at the Susan River with his new basketball teammates at Lassen Community College.

“We were jumping, and having fun,” Krug recalled in a Zoom chat in his dorm room on campus.

Krug and his friends were then joined by a group of people around his age he was not familiar with enjoying the weather and water. Krug, 19, said the group began taking turns jumping into the water, but one young man wasn’t so eager to take the plunge.

”His friend was really scared, you could tell he didn’t want to jump,” Krug said.

After building up the courage, the teenager leapt off the cliff and into the river, which, from where they were jumping, runs about 20 feet deep.

“He goes in, he gets really deep into the water, then comes up for air for a second and then just drops down,” Krug described.

That’s when the former state champion swimmer’s instincts kicked in, as the 2022 Kodiak graduate dove into the water to save the stranger from drowning.

“I couldn’t see him at first, but then I just saw this figure in the water and just grabbed him,” Krug said. “... He locked his arms, he locked his legs. I’m lucky I didn’t drown, because that is not supposed to happen when you’re saving somebody.”

Krug successfully dragged the person out of the water and onto a rock ledge, where they both caught their breath.

“I was just built up with adrenaline, it was pumping,” Krugg added. “... He didn’t have water in his lungs luckily, so I didn’t have to perform CPR.”

Krug and his friends stood by until they confirmed he was OK, before heading back to his dorm room to contemplate on the life-altering situation.

Upon reflection, Krugg realized there are lessons to be learned like only swimming within your ability and, though it was not needed at the time, being CPR-certified goes a long way.

”Even if you’re not a swimmer or a lifeguard, and you just go into a day-to-day job, it is good to have CPR because if you see someone having trouble getting their air, you can help them out,” he added.

Though a standout swimmer throughout his life — including playing a crucial role in the 2021 Alaska state championship team at Kodiak High School — Krug was also a standout basketball player for the Bears, trading the goggles for sneakers in college, signng to play hoops at Lassen Community College, the same school his father played baseball.

Even before scoring his first basket for the Lassen Cougars, Krugg is hearing the applause.

”It’s crazy, they are backing me, they are saying, ‘Hey good job,’” Krugg said of the response from the Kodiak community. “I’ve been getting people all over town and some people even in Reno talking about it, saying, ‘Oh you’re the person that saved the kid in Susanville.’”

College is full of experiences, and Krug said he has one he will remember for the rest of his life before ever suiting up for his team or taking a final exam.