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‘Something else took over inside of me.’ Man honored for saving capsized kayaker near Shoshone Falls

East Idaho Real Heroes

TWIN FALLS — It was a beautiful August day when Jacob Thornquest and some friends decided to spend some time kayaking on the river near Shoshone Falls.

As the group approached the falls, they stopped to take in the view. Thornquest and his girlfriend sat on a rock and noticed two kayakers who had capsized and seemed to be struggling in the water.

“I told my girlfriend and my friends, ‘I’m going to go over there. I think they’re in trouble,'” Thornquest recalls. “I got all the gear out of my kayak and jumped in the water.”

The kayakers were a good 400 yards ahead of Thornquest and the falls were roaring. As he got closer, he faintly heard one of them yell for help.

“He had taken on a bunch of water and he was holding onto his kayak,” Thornquest says. “It was bringing him up and down and every time it would bring him under the water, he would suck in a bunch of water and he was almost unconscious when I got to him.”

Thornquest pulled the man onto his kayak and noticed a dog was also in the water struggling to swim. Thornquest reached out and grabbed the animal so all three were safe.

Other kayakers worked their way to the other man in the water and helped him get out as Thornquest took his passenger and the dog to safety.

“By the time I got to shore, he had passed out and I rolled him over on the side and started smacking him on the back pretty well,” Thornquest says. “He probably puked up two gallons of water.”

Emergency crews arrived but the man was ok. Thornquest learned the stranded kayakers had been trying to take photos of the falls but got too close and capsized.

Thornquest has been in touch with the man he saved and hopes to have dinner or play golf with him soon. He’s thankful he was on the water that day as everything just fell into place.

“When I knew what was happening, I actually was full of peace because as soon as I got into the water I was thinking I need to get to this guy I need to get him safe,” Thornquest says. “Everything clicked. Something else took over inside of me and it just took care of it.”

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