WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Captain Scott Collins was clearing a Sea Tow call around 4:30 p.m. Sunday when a woman on a passing boat flagged him down. The boater said there was a diver in trouble near the drawbridge floating face down in the water.
When Captain Collins arrived moments later, he found 29-year-old Daniel Fisher unconscious in the waterway.
Family members describe Fisher as an experienced diver and a UNCW alum. The Wilmington resident was spear fishing before he fell unconscious. His family still doesn’t know what caused the emergency.
Captain Collins found him just in time. No one knows how long Fisher had been without air. To make matters worse, he was drifting closer to the channel full of boat traffic. Collins hoisted him aboard his boat and got to work administering CPR. He continued the chest compressions until EMS intervened minutes later.
There were moments the captain says he was nervous Fisher wouldn’t make it.
“When I first started, I didn’t think there was any way. He had no pulse, he wasn’t breathing and I really didn’t think he was going to make it but as I kept doing chest compressions and saw positive results, it drove me to keep going and I knew there was a chance,” said Collins.
While Collins has saved people from boat crashes and helped people who have fallen overboard, coming across Fisher’s lifeless body in the water is something he’s never experienced before and something he believes he will never forget.
Now that few days have passed since the rescue, he says its sinking in a little bit more that he’s the reason Fisher is alive today.
“When his father called me later and thanked me over and over again it was pretty intense... I wont lie, it brought tears to my eyes,” said Collins.
Fisher has a long road to recovery, but his family says he’s breathing on his own now and doctors are optimistic he will leave the ICU soon. The family has also set up a GoFund me page to assist with his medical expenses.
“It was unbelievable that I brought him on board and I did not think he would make it and CPR saved his life,” said Collins. “His family, his wife... everybody has a second chance.”