Jogger runs into river 'without thought' to save boy in Saskatoon

Brad Pilon said that he heard two kids screaming for help. That’s when he noticed the boy in the river.

Brad Pilon was taking part in a running challenge when he heard calls for help

Jogger pulls boy from river in Saskatoon

CBC News Saskatoon

2 months ago
Brad Pilon said that he heard two kids screaming for help. That's when he noticed the boy in the river. 0:26

A Saskatoon man pulled a boy who couldn't swim to shore from the South Saskatchewan River on Saturday. 

Brad Pilon and his wife, Ashley, were taking part in a fitness challenge that had them running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. At around 5 p.m. they had run just over 51 km in a 28-hour span, and they were returning from the eighth leg of the challenge.

They were near Victoria Park in between the Canoe Club and the outdoor gym when they noticed some kids' bikes laying unattended near the shoreline. 

"All of a sudden I saw [Brad] dodge toward the riverside, and then our one buddy who was on a bike also followed him," Ashley Pilon said. 

"And the next thing I knew, I could see Brad in the water."

Brad Pilon said that he heard two kids screaming for help. He looked behind him, and there was a child on the shore running and searching for help. That's when he noticed the boy in the river.

He turned around and immediately ran down the embankment. 

"I was motivating him to start kicking and move to shore, and that's when he said he couldn't swim," Pilon said. He immediately jumped in the water.

Pilon said the boy was about 20 feet from shore. Pilon's friend, David Klein, and another bystander waited by the shoreline.

Brad Pilon pulls a boy from the South Saskatchewan River while bystanders await. (Courtesy of Ashley Pilon)

Once the boy, who Pilon estimated to be between ten and 15 years old, got to shore, bystanders were quick to offer the boy their dry clothes. 

Pilon said that the boy was conscious, and a woman on the pathway had already called emergency services. Once Pilon knew the boy was taken care of, he ran back for a hot shower at the hotel he's staying at during the fitness challenge. 

Because of adrenaline and how fast things happened, Pilon said he didn't even notice how cold the water was. 

"There was no thought process at all. As soon as he said 'I can't swim' I was in the water without thought," he said. 

'Could have been a different story'

Pilon couldn't speculate as to why the boy was in the water, but said that education is key when it comes to preventing situations like this. 

"Anything can happen at any time, and I'm pretty thankful that the current didn't get involved in the location where he was. It really could have been a different story," he said. 

Pilon's wife said she isn't surprised by her husband's quick action.

"He's got a very caring, charismatic personality and he always puts everyone first. But this one really tops the list."


Candice Lipski is a CBC reporter and associate producer based in Saskatoon. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from UBC. Follow her on Twitter @Candice_Lipski or send her an email at