‘Literally a Miracle’: Hero Credits God After Kids Saved, Drowning Dad Rescued from Grave Danger

A father and his two young sons were rescued from a near-drowning incident after their inflatable kayak flipped in the Colorado River. Thanks to three Good Samaritans, the family was saved in what one rescuer called a ‘miracle.’

moab colorado river rescue

We can see God’s hand at work in moments like these. It reminds us that God places the right people in the right places to help. This story is a powerful example of faith and bravery.

Last Thursday, Eric Odenthal and his friend Gaar Lausman were near Big Bend Campground in Utah. They were getting ready for Lausman to paddleboard down the river.

The Colorado River was very dangerous due to peak runoff, and it became a perilous place for a family in an inflatable kayak. The kayak flipped over, scattering the father and his two sons, ages 8 and 10, in different directions.

Odenthal, an experienced outdoors guide, saw the children struggling downstream. “I ended up seeing the kids floating downstream with one of the kids kind of facing down, struggling,” he told KSL-TV.

Odenthal didn’t have the right gear to help, but Lausman did. Lausman managed to reach the boys and pull them to safety. However, their father was still in grave danger, further downstream and barely able to stay above water.

At that critical moment, Daniel Wright appeared on a jet ski. Wright initially passed by the father, mistaking him for debris. He turned back after Lausman got his attention. “All I remember, just… I had to help them,” Wright recounted.

The father used his last strength to reach out his hand, which Wright managed to grab, pulling him to safety. This emotional rescue was captured in a photo showing the father’s outstretched hand just before being saved.

“It was literally a miracle this guy showed up,” Odenthal said.

Both the children and their father were rescued, though the experience left them visibly shaken. The incident highlighted the importance of proper safety gear, as noted by the Grand County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (GCSAR). The children’s flotation devices were inadequate.

The rescuers reflected on the event with gratitude and faith. Odenthal emphasized the importance of being prepared for the powerful spring runoff, while Wright credited divine intervention for his timely arrival. “I really just think God just had me right there at the right time,” he said.

The bravery and quick actions of Odenthal, Lausman, and Wright saved three lives that day. God chose these heroic men to act swiftly during a crisis where others might have stood helpless, orchestrating the rescue.

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