Off-duty Chesterfield officers at The Boathouse pull man from James River

RICHMOND, Va. — Two Chesterfield Police officers were hailed as heroes after they helped rescue a man who had fallen into the James River.

The officers saw the man fall into the water Wednesday while they were on the patio at The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing.

“We saw the current take him under and noticed him unable to fight the water, which was pulling him downstream. We ran down to the docks to attempt to save him,” Officer Joe Thompson said. “Luckily, another man saw him fall into the river as well and was able to throw a life preserver out to the man in the water as we were all running down the dock. That’s how we were able to grab him and pull him up on the dock to safety.”

Thompson said the current took the man about 50 yards down the river before they reached.

“We are just people who were in the right place at the right time trying to help someone,” he said. “All we did was help a person in need, I’m just glad we were able to get him in time.”

Thompson said they were fortunate they did not have to jump into the water the save the man.

“We wouldn’t have made it out either, due to the water being so cold, rough, and the current being so strong,” he said. Once the man threw the life preserver, the guy in the river drifted close enough to where we could grab him from the end of the dock and we were able to pull him up. The current was still trying to pull him downstream. He was absolutely exhausted, and if we had not got there and the other man had not thrown the life preserver out and helped pull him to safety this would have been a completely different story.”