TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local high schoolers Avery Fera and Ella Miller say when they found out Friday they wouldn’t be back in school for the rest of the year, they just wanted to find another way to hang out. The weather was so good Saturday, they decided to go for a walk in Frear Park.
“We just wanted to walk around and we wanted to go on like an adventure,” Avery explains.
“Yeah, because it was a really nice day and we hadn’t hung out in like a month,” adds Ella.
It certainly wasn’t the adventure they were expecting. Avery, Ella, and one other friend were exploring the small trail near the park’s creek when Avery says she saw something strange.
“I saw something, like moving up and down and it was like, it blended in with all the mud,” she says.
What she saw was a man’s breathing. She and Ella soon realized they just happened to find a man who had fallen down the embankment.
“I looked down, and I saw that his eyes were looking right into mine, but he was completely covered in mud except for his eyes,” Ella says.
Avery and Ella showed me a video where they tried calling out to the man, to no response. Scared, the girls say they weren’t sure they saw what they thought they saw, so first thing they did was they called their moms.
“She didn’t even believe me, she thought we were like playing a trick on her, and she told me, she gave me my uncle’s number who is a cop and we called him,” Avery explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Avery‘s uncle, a Troy Police Department officer, was able to get police, fire, and EMS on scene to rescue the man by around 6:30 p.m. Captain Steven Barker confirms the victim had last been seen around 11 a.m. Saturday by his significant other when he left to go to the grocery store.
He says the approximately middle-aged man has no recollection of how he came to be in Frear Park. When he was found, he was covered head to foot in mud and missing his clothes, which Capt. Barker explains may be due to the “altered mental status” he was in when rescued and revived from the area the girls found him in.
“[It] could be the result of a medical condition, a foreign substance or any number of things, but we are going to leave that up to the medical professionals at Albany Med to determine,” Capt. Barker says. “We did confirm that this is the first incident of its kind in his medical history.”
He also commends the girls for their quick thinking.
“It’s just really a job well done, certainly a level of awareness on their parts, that is exactly what we’re looking for from the community,” he says. “We always say we rely on these community partnerships, because there’s so many more eyes in the community. In this case, the girls weren’t sure they saw what they thought they saw, but they alerted a trusted family member who they knew would be able to quickly and reliably issue the needed assistance, which he did.”
The girls say their family and friends have been calling them heroes, something they’re not quite used to yet.
“I think it was just a really great coincidence, and I’m glad that we were able to be in the right place at the right time that it could happen, because I don’t think anybody else would have found him,” Ella says.
“I keep thinking like what if we were too late, or what if we never even found him and he was out there all night or something. It’s just, it’s difficult to process,” adds Avery.
“I would say a power from above was definitely looking out for that gentleman,” Capt. Barker says.
He confirms the man is still recovering from hypothermia at Albany Medical Center and is in stable condition. Avery and Ella say they hope to hear soon that he has made a full recovery.