KFOR Chopper 4 crew saves man trapped in North Canadian River

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POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR)KFOR Chopper Four Pilot Mason Dunn and Managing Editor Steve Johnson helped save a man stranded in the North Canadian River Thursday afternoon.

David Stokes says he was separated from his friends during a float trip. With only one leg, he didn’t have the strength to swim to shore.

“That was it. That was it. That was everything I had left in me,” said Stokes, who had been stranded for more than 20 hours.

Chopper Four was already in the air, responding to different breaking news event when Dunn and Johnson got a call to action. Police told them someone was being searched for.

“Someone might be in the river, that they were looking for someone who was missing,” said Dunn.

Dunn and Johnson made their way down the river until they spotted Stokes, who was struggling to stay afloat.

“Keep my head above the water and that was it, I heard you. I heard you and I was hoping you saw me,” said Stokes.

Dunn landed the helicopter in a nearby sand bank. Johnson says he didn’t think twice and jumped out as soon as it was safe.

“I ran out of the chopper, dragged him up to the shore line,” said Johnson.

But Johnson and Dunn say the struggle didn’t end there. The area they found Stokes was so remote that the Pottawatomie Sheriff’s Department and Shawnee Search and Rescue crews couldn’t find it after all night of searching.

“I had to lift off there and fly to the airport and pick up the sheriff and take him down there,” said Dunn.

Finally, more help arrived and Stokes was airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital.

“Without your helicopter, knowing that you guys were landing, I wasn’t swimming into the bank,” said Stokes.

KFOR’s crew arrived back at the station weary, but more grateful than ever.

“It just gave me chills looking out for you. That’s our motto and that means something to me,” said Dunn.

“I would do that again in a heartbeat; I’m so thankful,” said Johnson.

Stokes is expected to make a full recovery.

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