The Loop

Alaskan kayaker tells stranger whose life he saved "Nobody dies on my birthday," is an American hero

August 17, 2017

If you happen across an Alaskan man named Obadiah Jenkins, buy that dude a drink. He's an American hero.

On Saturday, Jenkins was celebrating his 33rd birthday at the Six-Mile Creek Whitewater and Bluegrass Festival in Hope, Alaska, when he bravely thrust himself into choppy waters to save a stranger, Daniel Hartung. The 64-year-old literally had gotten in over his head and after crashing his kayak found himself pinned against some rocks. Several people attempted to pull him out of the water with a rope, but it wasn't working.

"I kept trying and trying and after a while it just became apparent to me that it was not going, that I was not going to get myself out of this," Hartung told ABC News. "It was very calming. Everything whited out and I blacked out. . . . No fear, no other thoughts."

But in stepped Obadiah Jenkins to the rescue.

"I just knew at that point there was no way I could let this man die," Jenkins said. "If I had one percent chance of saving his life, I was gonna try it."

After pulling Hartung ashore and seeing him open his eyes for the first time, Jenkins said, "Nobody dies on my birthday." What a legend. Check out ABC News' piece, which contains incredible footage of the harrowing ordeal:

"This guy is a true hero," Hartung said. Damn straight.