Man pulled from Ohio River recalls moment he lost his friend

Falls of the Ohio fishing accident survivor talks about loss

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The waters of the Ohio River can be enticing.

The Falls of the Ohio is a popular spot for Bill Waugh and his family and friends.  Last weekend the very waters he loves would take him and his friend Shawn under. "We both went under at the same time and I was with Shawn and saw Shawn disappear into the river," Waugh described to WHAS11.

The two shared a bond of fishing having met for the first time in April. They were wading in waist deep water when Waugh says the current swept them off their feet.  He struggled for 15 minutes before being pulled to shore by a woman named Ann.

Williams’ body was found a day later downstream of the Sherman Minton Bridge.

“I was in very bad shape when she pulled me out. I literally owe her my life," Waugh said about Ann. 

He met her Saturday at Williams’ funeral. "They just welcomed me, they hugged me. They were so thankful that I was alive and well," he said. The reason he was spared is still hard to understand.  The reason Williams wasn’t is harder still.

"I've been searching my heart to try to figure out why was I allowed to live? I'm just going to keep doing what I'm been doing," Waugh said.

He is the pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Goshen.  He says he’s guided by his beliefs he will see Williams again.  "He told me even back in April that he knew Christ as his Savior and that he was prepared. Little did we know that he would be called home on July 7."

It was a fishing trip that ended in tragedy, but it's also giving one man the opportunity to spread and share is faith. "Definitely puts your perspective into focus of the meaning of life and the importance, the value of every day," Waugh said. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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