A man who nearly drowned near Kenora, Ont., was reunited on Thursday with two people who saved his life.
A choked-up Harikesh Marwaha, 24, struggled to tell Jaime Siska and Joel Vertone how grateful he is.
"I'm short of words. Thanks is a very small word for them," he said during the meeting at CBC Winnipeg's studio, where all three were guests on Information Radio.
"Seriously, I owe my life to them because they give me a second life. I was almost dead."
Marwaha was camping at Rushing River Provincial Park last week when he fell into the water and nearly drowned.
Siska, along with a fellow Winnipegger Colin Cheys sprang into action to rescue him, carrying him to shore.
“I just ran to the rock’s edge where I heard screaming from,” said Cheys. “I managed to find a man at the bottom, eyes wide open, looking up to me. I just kind of grabbed one of his arms, pushed off the bottom and swam for the surface.”
Siska began performing CPR and then Vertone, an off-duty officer, jumped in.
“I just thought that would be his best chance to receive oxygen so I just started right away,” said Vertone, who credits his training from the Winnipeg Police Service. "It was a miracle that he was revived."
Vertone said everyone thought Marwaha was dead when they pulled him out of the water. But he decided to do CPR anyway.
"I just know that in my experience on this job it's very vital for the brain to receive oxygen and I just thought that would be his best hope — to start right away," he said.
When Marwaha finally began to recover, Siska said she was overwhelmed.
“That was like the most emotional, overwhelming feeling that you can have. To see that man breathe like that,” she said.
Marwaha spent two days in hospital and said his chest hurt for a few days after due to the CPR, but it's a small price to pay.
“The doctor was saying it’s a miracle,” he said.
Marwaha, originally from India and now living in Winnipeg, said he waited a few days to tell his mother in India that he nearly drowned. He didn't want her to worry.
His friends in Winnipeg have since bought him a life jacket that he promises to wear anytime he is near the water.
He has also planned to take the three Winnipeggers who saved him out for dinner.