Kentucky Lake has been in the news this week after a cargo ship struck Eggner Ferry Bridge on Thursday, causing a 200-foot segment of the bridge to collapse, and forcing drivers to travel dozens of miles to find an alternate route.
That area of the lake has seen its share of scary moments of late, as it was where Springfield native Kevin Devine and his son, Tyler, saved two men from drowning in the frigid waters at Kenlake Marina two weeks ago.
On Friday, Jan. 13, Devine and his son were setting up fishing equipment with family friend Willie Maxwell of Aurora, when they noticed a boat with more than 100 passengers trying to get their attention.
Devine said he recalled seeing a sailboat a few minutes earlier, but now it was nowhere to be seen.
They then spotted the overturned sailboat, and hurried over to help the two Mayfield men -- a father and son -- out of the mid-40 degree water.
Devine said he didn’t get the men’s names, but he found out the older of the men was a doctor based on a comment his son had made.
Devine, who visits Kentucky Lake often, said he’s never seen anything like this happen before, and that despite less-than-ideal weather conditions, the accident was a surprise.
“I never would have really dreamed it,” he said. “The wind was blowing pretty hard, and the water was getting rough, but I’ve never seen anything like that.”
The Devines and Maxwell got to the scene perhaps just in the nick of time, as Devine said the cold temperature was beginning to take a toll on the distressed boaters.
“We went and got them turned back over, and got the older gentleman out. He was probably 80 years old, and he’d already turned blue,” he said. “If we hadn’t been there, I don’t think they would’ve made it.”
Devine knows something about a rescue, after his sister, Lori Burns, donated a kidney to him in 2010 following his diagnosis with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.
The irony of Devine having a hand in saving a doctor this time around wasn’t lost on him, as he laughed and said, “The first thing we all said (after the incident was over) was that we never thought we would be the ones saving a doctor’s life.”