OAKDALE -- Steve Hutchings is battered and bruised but grateful.
“I couldn’t get my wits about me because of the pain… I would have drowned,” he said.
Thanks to two good Samaritans, the Calaveras County husband, father and grandfather is alive after nearly drowning at Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale on Sunday. He said he was there trying to sell his boat when the potential buyer didn’t show. He usually doesn’t go out alone, but that day he did.
He told FOX40 he was in the water, on his boat, when he stepped through a hole. “I stood right here, and this is where my leg went down inside this hole,” Hutchings said, pointing to the part of the boat where he fell through.
His leg was twisted, stuck. While the rest of his body was immersed in water, "and I could see back up, I could see my leg… I’m screaming, trying to fight to get my head up out of the water. I was able to yell for help I think only once,” he said.
Gasping for air, fighting for his life, Hutchings says he was in the water for about a minute.
"The longest 60 seconds of my life… 'cause there's nothing behind me, I can’t… there's nothing to grab onto," he said.
A second longer and he believes he would have drowned. That’s when two men came to his rescue.
“And then I realized there was two of them, and it took two of them… pulled me up on the boat so I was upright,” Hutchings explained.
Two strangers saved his life. He said a quick "thank you" but realized his leg could be broken. He drove to the emergency room while the men hopped back on their jet skis.
"And I thought, I never asked their name… I don’t know who they are," he said.
Days later, he’s even more grateful for that moment and he hopes that by sharing his story he can thank the two men, his two rescuers in person.
"I want to thank them mostly for getting involved. Sometimes people see something, they just let it go... they don’t want to get involved, and they did," he said.
Hutchings said his leg did not break. His family also wants to thank the good Samaritans.