Ashburn teen thanks heroes who rescued him from Potomac

Jacob Starrett, right. Photo: NewsChannel 8

(GREAT FALLS, Va.) - There is beauty in the Potomac River. There is also danger.

"I climb up the tree and I am looking down. And oh, I'll just jump in the water here, this looks like a fun time," said Jacob Starrett, 16, of Ashburn.

The water was too shallow for 16-year old Jacob "Jake" Starrett on that July day.

"Before I can get my hands above me, I hit my head on the bottom and immediately go unconscious, floating face down in the water," said Starrett.

A family nearby screamed for help and called 911.

Gabe Donato, a boy scout, and Jake Jones rushed to help.

"I told Jake to gather people on shore. We pulled him out of the water and then basically supported his legs for elevation and gave him a full body analysis," said Donato, 16, of Gaithersburg.

"It was mostly just like keeping calm," said Jones, 16, also of Gaithersburg.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue arrived moments after to get Starrett to a helicopter.

The one challenge for fire crews was actually getting to where Jacob had fallen in the Potomac River.

On Wednesday at Station 39, Starrett and all of his heroes met.

"I owe my life to every single man in uniform and these two boys and even the people who told them how to handle a situation like that," said Starrett to the crowd of first responders and the teens who helped him.

Even the chopper, that helped Starrett, took time to fly over.

"Wow, this is a moment," Starrett said.

Starrett fractured some vertabrae and his skull. He also spent several weeks in the hospital and rehab but he is alive.

"To have him walk in here, shake our hands and give us hugs and be so alert and talking it's awesome to see," said Greg Wood, a Fairfax County firefighter.

His mom, Sharon, was brought to tears by the teens and men who saved her son.

He is a son who is grateful and more than thankful,

"I am glad they were there," he said.