A landscaper is lucky to be alive thanks to the quick actions of a man who just happened to hear a bang, according to a story reported on WPBF-TV, West Palm Beach, Florida. Steve Aller, a resident of a golf community in Port St. Lucie, was inside his home listening to the familiar sound of a crew cutting the grass outside when a strange noise caught his attention.
“I heard a bang, a loud bang,” Aller told the station’s reporter. “And the motor stopped. So, I’m waiting for the thing to restart. You know?”
But the restart didn’t come, and Aller went outside to check it out. That’s when he saw the riding lawnmower upside down in the pond behind his house — and a man under it, his legs pinned beneath, trapped face down in the water.
“I looked and I see the lawnmower, and I’m looking around for the guy who rides it,” Aller is quoted as saying. “And then I see bubbles coming up. That’s a scary sight to see, somebody pinned underwater, and they’re struggling to get themselves up and they can’t.”
So Aller jumped in to help. “I was able to get myself down in the water with him, get him up under the arms, and pull him up and just get his nose up above the water,” Aller told the reporter. “And he took his first breath after being under the water all that time. As soon as I got him breathing, that’s when I started screaming for help.”
Two of the other landscapers and a neighbor, Don Rinelli, heard Aller’s screams and jumped into the pond to help, according to the story. Together, the four men were able to move the mower — but the landscaper was still tethered to the machine.
“His belt, his actual pants belt, was hooked on something,” Aller is reported to have said. “And Don was able to reach up under there, undo that, and I had him under the arms and we just pulled him out.” Once they got the landscaper onto the bank of the pond, Aller held him until paramedics arrived.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” Aller said, according to the story. “I could have not been home. Nobody heard it but me. I don’t think it would have turned out the same way.”
The bravery of Aller and Rinelli did not go unrecognized. St. Lucie County Fire Rescue presented both men with Citizen Hero Awards.