He didn’t even think twice.
A Russian man is being hailed a hero for jumping into the ocean to save a drowning man — despite the fact that he is paralysed from the waist down.
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Nikita Vankov was on a pier in Anapa, Russia, on October 5 when he noticed a swimmer struggling in the water.
Two other men tried to help the swimmer, but they, too, began to struggle.
That’s when Vankov reportedly got out of his wheelchair onto the pier and thrust himself into the water, using his arms to keep him afloat.
Vankov held his breath and embraced the drowning man from beneath him to keep the man’s head afloat.
He was then pulled to safety, and later told first aid workers that his legs cramped while he was swimming.
Adding to the day’s sense of fate, the pier where the incident happened was the same one on which Vankov lost the use of his legs 13 years prior — while trying to save another man from drowning.
On that day, he fractured three vertebrae, and has used a wheelchair ever since.
He returned to the pier last week to film a documentary on his earlier injuries — when he caught the new drowning incident on camera.
“Today was a very difficult day,” Vankov told Newsflare. “I had a lot of emotions from painful memories. Then I saw these two guys pulling a friend who was drowning.”
He left with a renewed faith in humanity, he said.
“Never in my life could I have thought that I would find myself in a direct situation of human salvation,” he said.
“Emotions have not cooled down yet, and I think it is important to show such situations, for people’s faith in people.”
This article originally appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission.