A Nevada man is lucky to be alive after a swim in a river quickly turned into a near-death experience.
Kalani Tuiono, was at the Yuba River in Northern California with his girlfriend on Saturday when he got caught in an undertow, which felt like a roller coaster, he told The Reno-Gazette Journal.
The rough rapids brought him just feet away from a waterfall with a 40-50-foot drop.
The 25-year-old says he was tossed around, lost his sense of direction and was pushed underneath the water. As he struggled to breath, his body and head banged against the rocks.
“I was underwater for what felt like minutes and was thrown around like a rag doll,” he wrote on Facebook after being rescued. “I washed up onto a rock stomach down and puked immediately. I was on the rock for an hour until search and rescue came and saved me via helicopter.”
California Highway Patrol helicopter and the Truckee Fire Protection District miraculously rescued Tuiono.
After the harrowing rescue, they learned that he had been swept down the white water for approximately one mile and remarkably only suffered minor scratches and abrasions.
“He had a near-death experience,” paramedic and flight officer Matt Calcutt told the newspaper. “We are glad to have a good outcome.”
Added Tuiono: “I am so thankful. I have never had a more humbling experience.”