A former New Hampshire firefighter recently used his training to rescue a young boy from the rapids of the Lamprey River in Epping.
“There have been deaths in this river in this town, so it’s dangerous, there’s no doubt about it,” said Chris Murphy.
Murphy says he was grabbing lunch Sunday afternoon when he was approached by a young boy. The child asked to use his phone, and then called his dad for help, saying his brother was stuck in the Lamprey River.
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After making sure someone called 911, Murphy then followed the boy to his brother.
“He was holding on, like this doing a chin up, and the current had him absolutely straight under the tree,” he explained.
Murphy said after some recent storms, the river was raging and the boy was in deep trouble.
“I said, ‘I’m coming to get you,’ he said, ‘Oh, good,’” Murphy laughed.
Murphy waded into waist deep water, grabbed a tree limb and then reached out to the boy, who grabbed his hand. It was just seconds before the two were safe on land, a rescue Murphy made look easy, only because he knew exactly what he was doing.
“I was a fireman in this town for 37 years,” Murphy said.
The former Epping Fire Chief had all the necessary training and didn’t hesitate to use it.
“I know he’s being very humble about it but I think he did a great job,” said current Fire Chief Donald DeAngelis.
The fire chief says even though his rescue team was on the way, in a situation like this, each passing second could be the difference between life and death.
“I don’t know if we would’ve had that child with us anymore,” DeAngelis said.
He considers it nothing short of a miracle that Murphy was in the right place at the right time.
“God’s will, I guess,” DeAngelis said. “He placed him there at the nick of time so that child didn’t go downstream into the rapids.”
Both men are hopeful this story is a warning to others. They say don’t underestimate the strength of a river even this size, especially after some heavy rain.
NBC10 Boston connected with the boys’ father who says they are both doing well but don’t want to talk about what happened.