Man saves fishermen

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2008

NATCHEZ — When Herman Nettles went to check on his fishing camp on Old River last week, he found a lot more than just high water.

Nettles, 77, said as he pulled up to his dock he heard loud voices coming from somewhere in the near by trees.

“Then I heard ‘help, help,’” he said.

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Upon investigation, Nettles found two fisherman, a father and son team, whose boat had sunk.

“That old man was just about froze to death,” he said.

Nettles said the old man, Richard Murray, 81, of Monroe, La., and his son were in a tree soaking wet and freezing cold when he found them.

Nettles said he did not know the name of the man’s son but said he looked to be about 50 or 55.

Nettles said the boat the two men were in was likely overloaded. It was carrying two ATVs, when choppy waters flooded and sank the boat.

“That old man told me he thought he’d never see his wife again,” he said.

And had Nettles not found the two men Murray may not have.

Murray told Nettles they were in the water for four hours.

Nettles put the two men in his boat and rushed them back to his camp.

“I turned the butane heater on them for them to warm up,” he said. “I gave them a pot of coffee and some canned weenies.”

Nettles said he gave the two men dry clothes and drove them back to their vehicle in Deer Park.

Nettles said after their boat sank the two men drifted from Deer Park to Fairview, approximately five miles.

Aside from the stroke of luck that placed Nettles near the two men in their time of need, Nettles said divine intervention also played a role in the rescue.

Nettles is very hard of hearing; when his wife and children speak to him they practically shout.

Nettles’ hearing is so deteriorated that he cannot use the telephone.

“The good Lord made me hear them,” he said. “And the motor was running.”

Nettles and his wife Lois agreed it was amazing that he was able to hear the men’s cries over the boat’s engine.

Nettles said Murray has since visited to drop off the overalls and thank him again.

“When you have a chance to save a man’s life it makes you feel good,” he said.