LOWELL, Ark. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma Game Warden was in the right place at the right time to save a life.

Officials say on May 11, an Arkansas man in his late 30s was swimming with a friend at Flint Creek Water Park, just west of the Oklahoma state line along U.S. 412.

Oklahoma Game Warden Riley Willman was on the way to another location when he decided to pull off the highway to check for angler compliance at the recreation area.

When he approached the creek, he heard people calling for help.

“I heard them screaming, ‘Help, police, call 911! Someone’s drowning!’ And I saw that they were pointing to this low-water dam,” said Willman.

Willman jumped into the fast-flowing creek.

Officials say another man, who was also in the water, said his best friend had jumped into the water below the dam and had been sucked under by the water tumbling over the dam.

 “Luckily, he popped up at the right time where I could grab him,” Willman said. “When you get sucked into a vortex, it’s kind of like a spin cycle in a washing machine. It kicked him out at just the right moment.” 

The rescuers pulled the victim to the bank and Willman began CPR.

“He had blue lips, no pulse. He was dead at that point,” he said.

After about 30 seconds, he was able to feel a weak pulse. It faded, but Willman continued CPR for several other rounds before the victim’s pulse became stronger.

“He was dead, which is the crazy thing to me,” Willman said. “We will always try to render aid, even when things don’t look good. You just fall back on your training, and adrenaline takes over. You don’t really have time to think.” 

The man was rushed to an Arkansas hospital but was discharged the next day.

Game Warden Lt. Joe Alexander said Willman is a hero.

“His quick action and determination saved this man’s life. We are extremely proud of his heroic actions, risking his own life to save another,” Alexander said. 

“It was just 100 percent that I was doing my job,” Willman said.