Man leaps into West Virginia river to save bear cub from drowning

West Virginia

HARRISONBURG, Va. (CNN Newsource) – A relaxing father and son fishing trip in West Virginia turned into anything but relaxing once they came across a small black bear that needed help.

Father and son Darrin and Eli Barkley of Broadway, were fishing on the Williams river until Eli noticed a small bear.

“We were really worried about him. The bear looked very wore out and just didn’t look right,” said Eli.

The Barkley’s called forest rangers, and bear caretaker Joel Rosenthal came to help.

“Jumped out of my vehicle. I have equipment to sedate it but the little bear jumped into the water,” said Rosenthal. 

That’s when Eli jumped in to help.

“Then, he got out into the current and as soon as his head went under, I guess it was just natural instinct, I didn’t say nothing to nobody. I just sprung out into the water and kinda went for a pretty big swim,” said Eli.

Eli saved the bear and Rosenthal was able to sedate it and bring it back to his farm.

Rosenthal named the bear William.

We’ll be keeping updates with Joel and this bear named William now. Williams river, so, it’s pretty cool,” said Eli.

Eli’s father Darrin said, “I’m very proud, very proud, he did the right thing.”

“It’s definitely being in the wildlife for years and growing up with my dad. I mean it’s pretty cool,” said Eli.

Rosenthal hopes to eventually release”William back to the wild, but the Barkleys are hoping to go and visit William before then.

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