Man dies on Missouri’s Elk River trying to save a sinking stranger

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NOEL, Mo.– He died a hero. That’s what his family, and the woman he saved have to say about 26-year-old Jake Farley.

Wichita-based station, KAKE reports Farley had traveled down to Noel, Missouri from his home in Kansas.

While on his weekend float trip, he noticed a girl in the water struggling to survive. He jumped in to save her, trading his life for hers.

WICHITA, Ks.– If there’s one word friends and family call Jake Farley…

“He was a Hero. That was Jake,” says Farley’s mother Carla.

She says Jake went on a float trip to the Elk River in Noel, MO last weekend.

What was supposed to be a carefree weekend with friends became urgent when he saw a woman drowning.

“Then he heard a girl screaming for her life, drowning,” Karla explains. “He went in to save her…Some told him no don’t do it. But he did.”

That girl was Maddison Capps.

“Half of us had gotten sucked in down to the dam, the other half managed to get out on a ledge I guess,” she tells KAKE reporters. “When I went under, I was under for a little while and when I finally surfaced I was about thirty feet from the bank.”

She said she went under water again, but finally saw Jake, a man she’d never met before, trying to save her life.

“I looked at him and I said what do I do? And he said ‘I don’t know’ So there was another floatie in the water down there, I gave it to him and we were down there for thirty minutes before help came,” Capps recalled.

For thirty minutes, every time she went under, he pulled her back up.

“That’s what people need to know,” Carla Farley told KAKE. “It wasn’t just that he jumped in and held on to her until rescue crews…no, he did everything. She would’ve died if it weren’t for him.”

“A lot of times I would come back up and I would feel his hand on my back,” Capps recalled.

Capps said something underwater kept getting wrapped around waste, pulling her down. Then it got wrapped around Jake too.

“I started yelling I said you have to get it off and he said he couldn’t,” Capps said. “I tried to keep talking to him when I could breathe. When I looked back, I couldn’t see him anymore.”

His last act: Saving a stranger.

“I’m never going to forget that,” she said. “And I just wanna live my life the best as I can and hopefully make him proud.”

Jakes family is grateful she’s okay as they mourn the loss of a man they repeatedly call a hero.

“I did talk to him that morning,” his mom added. “And I got to tell him I love him and to be careful.”

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