Couple speaks after trying to save man who drowned while saving wife

CARTER COUNTY, TN - We are now hearing from a couple who jumped in to a Tri-Cities river to try to save a man who drowned over the weekend while trying to save his wife.

They were sent to the hospital with hypothermia and were released on Monday after jumping into the river at Wilbur Dam.

The pain for Heather and Ron Parker is still very raw after the traumatic incident on Sunday afternoon.

The couple was fishing with their kids for Mother's Day when a woman started to drown.

"The husband jumped in to save her. As soon as he jumped in my wife jumped in to help her," Ron Parker said.

"I jumped in to help," said Heather Parker.

They said as soon as Hunter Sadle jumped in to save his wife, he started screaming for help.

"It was just, it was really cold. It was really, really cold," Heather said.

Heather, who is a former lifeguard, says she finally got to Sadle and tried to pull him out.

"The current was really strong and he started panicking. He was really scared and he started to fight me," she said.

She said she went under a few times and sucked in a lot of water.

"I had to kind of let go for a second and the current grabbed him and that's when he went under and he never came back up," she said.

Meanwhile, Ron was trying to save Sadle's wife, but they were both caught in the current.

"Once the current pulled me down under again I swam back to her and I pushed her into the current and told her to grab ahold of something. Everybody started screaming grab ahold of something hang on," he explained.

"I'm so proud of how brave she was. She held onto that rock and never let go," Heather said.

Ron was able to swim near the shore and someone put a stick in the water and pulled him out.
Heather made it to the bank and James Smith pulled her out of the water.

"I want to tell him thank you because I honestly don't know if I could have made it that last little bit. I was so exhausted, so tired," she said.

The Parkers are modest saying they are no heroes, but praise Sadle for his bravery trying to save his wife.

"You don't think about it, you don't think of the consequences. You just know somebody's in trouble and you jump," Ron said.

"He's a hero, I want everyone to know that he' a hero. He didn't care about his own life he jumped in to save his wife despite that fact," Heather said.

Heather said she wants to stress the importance of bringing life preservers with you, whether you think you will need them or not. She said this tragedy is a prime example of when you might need one.


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