OLATHE, Kan. – It was supposed to be a couple hours of father, son time for Brian Johnson and his two-year-old son, Brayden. Instead, it was a nearly tragic outing on Lake Olathe.
“We were just going to go out and have a little fun on the boat and maybe go catch a couple fish.” explained Brian Johnson.
Brian started up the motor and was set to move to a new spot when Brayden went overboard. Brian reached and grabbed him, but his other hand hit the throttle and the boat took off.
Brayden was wearing a life vest, but Brian’s first instinct was to get him out of the water fast and that meant jumping in and letting the boat go.
It was a terrifying couple minutes, but Brian had a few things in his favor. In addition to Brayden’s vest, the Olathe Fire Department and the Overland Park Police Dept. dive team was doing water rescue training nearby. But it was a couple fisherman just a hundred yards away that truly saved the day.
“We realized something is wrong and the man was in the water screaming for help and his boat was still running circling around him.” said fisherman Kevin Cattaneo.
Cattaneo and friend, Brad Smith raced over to help. Cattaneo pulled Brayden out and Smith grabbed Brian.
Johnson was overcome with emotion.
“If it wasn’t for the two fishermen out there I don’t know what to do with out them, I thank them so much,” said Johnson.
Olathe Fire Captain, Eric Barnum said the fisherman did a great thing, but the life vest was key.
“Without a life jacket we’re probably looking at a different story for sure,” said Barnum.
Cattaneo and Smith were happy to help, but quickly brushed off the hero label.
“You come across a situation like that, you just do what needs to be done.” said Cattaneo.
“I don’t think I did anything that anyone else wouldn’t do. You know, I just hope, especially since I’m on the water a lot, sometime if I need help, somebody will be there for me too. Just did what anybody would do.” explained Brad Smith.
Johnson and his son were checked out by fire fighters. They were a little shaken, but unharmed. Johnson said Brayden was back to normal very quickly.
“When we got home, Brayden said ‘When can we go fishing again?’,” Johnson said.