A man jumped into action to help a fellow citizen when he stopped near the Potomac River in Washington, DC, on Friday night.
Jelani Clayton stopped off Ohio Drive SW near the Lincoln Memorial to wait for traffic to thin out, but also to enjoy the beautiful view, according to NBC Washington.
Clayton noticed something in the water but did not immediately recognize what it was. Seconds later, he realized it was a person who was whimpering.
The woman’s jacket was zipped closed, covering her face, and “They were conscious, but just barely,” Clayton recalled.
He did not think twice before dragging her out of the water, then dialing 911 for help. When crews arrived, she was transported to a hospital. The woman is expected to recover from the ordeal.
“She was getting very hypothermic, and she could have easily, within a matter of minutes, gone under, and we would have lost her if it wasn’t for his efforts,” Vito Maggiolo of D.C. Fire and EMS said of the good Samaritan’s quick actions.
Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This results in the person experiencing dangerously low body temperature, per the Mayo Clinic.
“When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and eventually to death,” the clinic’s website says.
Most of the time, the condition is caused when someone is exposed to cold weather or immersed in frigid water.
In a social media post Friday, a woman who appeared to be friends with Clayton sang his praises, writing, “The world is a better place because of people like you Jelani Clayton!”
“Thank God for you! Selfless lifesaver! Thank you for being you, always,” she continued:’
It remained unclear how the woman came to be in the water, but Clayton is hopeful she will find help.
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