Man tried to rescue Orange County swimmer to no avail

ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A man drowned in Locust Grove Saturday afternoon. Orange County deputies say the 24-year-old swam past the designated swimming area and drowned.

An unidentified eyewitness who was there when it happened and tried to save the man said that it took a minute for people to notice the man needed help.

“We noticed a gentleman walking out into the deeper section of the swimming area, and a couple of other folks with him and looked like they were playing around is how it appeared,” the eyewitness said. “Next thing we know, we see him go under.”

That man was 24-year-old Willliam Dixon III who was at the lake celebrating the holiday weekend with his fiance and family.

“We watched for 15-20 seconds asking ourselves wondering if he was going to come up out of the water,” the witness said. “Another 15-20 seconds later we realized he wasn’t coming back up and was in distress.”

It was in that moment that the man stopped being a witness and got involved. The beach at Lake of the Woods is swim at your own risk, so no official lifeguard was on duty.

“He loosened my grip on his arm, tried to grab his swimming trunks or anything I could to just get ahold of him, and at the point, I wasn’t able to get him off of the bottom of the lake,” the man said, describing his attempt to rescue Dixon.

Police said a rescue team arrived eight minutes later. They removed Dixon from the lake and performed CPR, but failed to revive him.

The good Samaritan said that those eight minutes felt like an eternity.

“I used to be an Eagle Scout, and a lifeguard,” he said. “I used to be an EMT, and everything seems like an eternity in a situation like that.”

The man said he is not a hero.

“I did what I felt needed to be done, hoping someone would do it for me if I needed it,” he said.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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