Nicholas Boraker, 15, of Montpelier, says he never expected something like this to happen here.
"If I could go back I would have made sure they didn't go in," Boraker said.
Tuesday afternoon, police reported that a Barre teen drowned at Stevens Branch, attempting to rescue a friend. According to Boraker, he watched the two struggle and go over the falls where he says he didn't even think but immediately reacted.
"First instinct was to get the person that I knew could make it before I knew anything about Jesse," Boraker said.
Boraker says he was able to pull one of the swimmers to shore and says he made sure he was conscious before redirecting his attention to the second swimmer. Boraker says he then spotted Jesse Belcher floating helplessly downstream. Belcher had gone in to try to rescue that first swimmer.
"He took a hook and was going with the water, then went right under that bramble bush over there," Boraker said.
Boraker says he pulled Belcher out of the water and says while someone called 911 he started to perform CPR.
"I think the one thing coming back to me is sitting with Jesse in the mud over there for almost 10 minutes, just sitting with him," Boraker said.
Boraker describes his friend as someone adventurous and someone he's known for many years.
"We've been friends. It's hard to not have feelings for someone you play football with, you're on a team together for three-four years," he said. "He was always the one that would take risks and until today would always miraculously make it out of a bad situation."
Police have not yet released the names of the victims or the rescue reports in full. But they warn swimmers with all the rain, water is running high.
"Need to be aware of swollen rivers or flow flooding occurrences. Use common sense and stay out if areas when having these rain storms," Barre Town Police Chief Michael Stevens said.
I asked Chief Stevens to confirm Boraker's story. He says he was not one of the first on scene, so he is not sure how the swimmers were pulled out of the water. Fire crews declined to comment and directed us to Chief Stevens.
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