A Noblesville police officer is credited with saving the life of an 18-year-old Kentucky baseball player injured on a Florida beach.
Travis Gaines of Lexington, Ky., was visiting Destin, Fla., with his team last week when he injured his neck by diving into a sandbar. He’d misjudged the depth of the water.
Noblesville police Lt. Bruce Barnes was on spring break and visiting the beach. He saw what happened and helped save Gaines’ life on Tuesday, April 2.
“Lt. Barnes was on the beach and pulled the young man from the water, taking appropriate precautions for neck injuries,” said Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt. “Bruce and a vacationing paramedic firefighter from Southfield, Michigan, resuscitated the young man while waiting on local paramedics to arrive.”
Gaines was taken to a Pensacola hospital. His family said he injured his neck and had limited movement in his arms and fingers. He also had trouble breathing and was fighting off a fever. The family said Barnes visited their son in the hospital.
“Keith and I got to hug Bruce when he came to see Travis here in the hospital,” the family wrote in a Facebook post. “We tried to express our gratitude for his heroism but there just aren’t adequate words. He saved Travis’ life. Bruce pulled Travis out of the water. We love you Bruce and you will always be a part of the Gaines family!”
Jowitt said Barnes only agreed to talk about the rescue to bring attention to Gaines’ recovery. Friends and family have set up a Facebook page to show their support. They’ve also organized an online fundraiser to help with his medical expenses.
Travis Gaines photo via Facebook