As Pastor Andy Foor settled into what he thought was going to be a peaceful Saturday morning of fishing on the Kenai River in Alaska, he suddenly heard screaming. A woman had slipped into nearby water. Foor uttered a prayer and cast his line. God oversaw what happened next.
Foor, an Everett, Penn. resident, is visiting Alaska for the summer. He was angling off a dock downstream of the Sterling Highway bridge in Soldotna at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday when he saw two women walking along the bank of the river, according to the Peninsula Clarion.
After one of the women slipped into the water, at first she went under and didn't come back up for about 15 seconds, Foor said. At that point, he didn't think she'd come back up at all, he said.
When she did, all he could see was the top of her blonde hair. She wasn't wearing a life vest, and she was yelling, "I can't swim; I'm drowning!" the pastor said, who remembers everyone standing there feeling helpless.
The woman fell in just upstream of the bridge and was far enough out in the river that no one could reach her, reports Peninsula Clarion. Other anglers on the dock were unsure of what to do. Foor said he thought about taking off his waders and swimming out to her, but knew he wouldn't be able to help her.
So he glanced at his fishing pole.
"I just said a prayer, and a voice said, 'Throw your line out into the water,'" Foor said. "I hollered to the girl so that I'd get her attention, and I cast."
Foor said he considered taking the hook and weight off of his 50-pound braided line, but the same voice, the Lord, that told him to cast, indicated it would be alright, he said.
He said her eyes were fixated on him. The line reached the drowning woman and she latched on. Foor swung her back toward the dock downstream of where he stood. Another angler went down the steps to help her up onto the dock, where others were able to help her dry off and warm up.
Foor pulled in his gear and wandered down to see if she was alright, he said.
"She was saying, 'Where's the man who threw me the line? Where's the man who threw me the line? Where's the man who threw me the line?'" Foor said. "And I just stepped down and said, 'The Father loves you, and here's the man.'"
She came straight to him and hugged him, he said.
Foor said others thought she might have died had he not been able to throw her the line. He said he wanted all the credit to go to God for the rescue.
The Kenai River is a fast-flowing, cold river. Many people recreate on and near it, and there is a death or near-death almost every year in the river.