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Onlookers pull diver out of Duluth's 'the deeps' after mishap

A young man, believed to be in his early 20s, survived a bad dive Sunday night with help from onlookers at Lester Park.

Although the identity of the man has not yet been released, Duluth Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mattson said a young man was jumping at a section of the Amity Creek known locally as "the deeps." He was jumping from a height of about 25 feet when he became incapacitated.

"It sounds like he did a face plant," Mattson said.

Nick Salstrand, a 16-year-old who also was swimming in the area, said the man did a double flip from the highest rock at the deeps and belly flopped about 9:30 p.m. He speculated that the impact of striking the water from such a height either knocked the air out of him or caused him to lose consciousness.

The man floated face down in the water for a short while, and Salstrand said he and others first thought he might be fooling around. Then, however, the jumper sank below the surface of the water.

When that happened, Tyler Charnley, 17, said he and everyone else swimming in the area -- about 10 people in all -- jumped in and started diving, trying to locate the man and bring him back to the surface. Water in that part of the river is 10-plus feet deep, Mattson said.

Charnley estimated that the man was without air about three to four minutes before someone fished him out of the river. The diver was still breathing, and onlookers called 911 for help.

Response came quickly, and Mattson said the injured jumper was responsive on the scene -- a positive sign.