DNR warden rescues 15-year-old Manitowoc boy on Milwaukee River

NOW: DNR warden rescues 15-year-old Manitowoc boy on Milwaukee River

MANITOWOC, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Manitowoc teen is lucky to be alive Wednesday night after a rescue on the Milwaukee River.

He nearly drowned in a swimming race with his friend in Thiensville. 

They say when someone's drowning, there's not a lot of yelling, so you have to watch for the signs.

Fortunately, two people with a trained eye were watching when this young man got into trouble on the water. 

As a DNR warden was saving a life, Mike De Sisti picked up his cellphone.

"I was here with my family. We were waiting for the fireworks to start and then we noticed from across the river, a couple kids, they had jumped in," said Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photojournalist.

A 15-year-old from Manitowoc was visiting family in Thiensville. He brought his buddy along.

"Got about halfway across, cramped up," said Rick Walker, grandpa.

Rick Walker's backyard is along the river. Family didn't know the teens planed to swim to the other side. 

"He didn't tell us anything. He didn't even mention the fact that this all happened," said Walker.

The friend made it across where a couple hundred people were listening to music. Very few noticed the commotion on the water.

"He wasn't screaming real loud you know, he was just kind of saying, "help, I need some help!" said De Sisti.

"If you were on shore, closer to where the DJ or the band was, I doubt you would've heard anything," said Tony Young, Wisconsin DNR conservation warden.

Tony Young's been with the DNR for 10 years.

"I was kind of going slow, watching people, making sure nothing crazy's going on," said Young.

Young spotted the teens when they jumped off a pier.

"I could kind of see him bobbing up and down and you could see, I guess, the panic setting in," said Young.

"No, he did not go completely under, but you know, probably wouldn't have taken too much longer. He was just too tired," said De Sisti.

"Grabbed him and had him hold on to the side of the boat and I towed him back to his private dock," said Young.

Thankful family members were waiting.

"Thankfully, the DNR was hanging around, and luckily he was able to pick him up, rescue him and bring him back over to the pier," said Walker.

"They dropped him and then his buddy actually tried to get in and swim back over to the other side, and then the warden came back over and said no, no, just stay here. Your family's gonna come over here and get you," said De Sisti.

If DNR Warden Young looks familiar, it might be because of his side job. 

He does security for the Brewers and tackled a streaker at Miller Park a few years ago.

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