Man who helped save boy in Fort Morgan describes dramatic rescue - FOX10 News | WALA

Man who helped save boy in Fort Morgan describes dramatic rescue

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Bradley Murphy (21) and Steven Wahler (47) drowned Monday night saving a boy in the Gulf. Photo: (left) Jered Booker. (right) The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. Bradley Murphy (21) and Steven Wahler (47) drowned Monday night saving a boy in the Gulf. Photo: (left) Jered Booker. (right) The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.
FORT MORGAN, AL (WALA) -

An act of heroism, quickly turned to tragedy on a Fort Morgan beach Monday night. It became a story of sacrifice: two men drowned in the Gulf trying to save a little boy. For the first time, we're hearing from someone who also tried to help.

The two heroes who died are Steven Wahler, 47, and Bradley Murphy, 21. Two other men also rushed to help the child.

FOX10 News Reporter Alexa Knowles spoke with one of them, Jered Booker, Bradley Murphy's cousin.

He says while he and Murphy were finishing up some landscaping work near Plantation Dunes resort around 5:00 Monday night, they heard cries for help. A lady ran up to them.

"She runs up, and she says, hey there's a little boy out there screaming for help, can y'all do anything?  I guess out of instinct we dropped everything we were doing." 

They ran straight to the roaring waves, their eyes set on a 12-year-old boy caught in a rip current.

"The moment I hit the water, I was trying to make my way to the kid...we got separated, and I felt the rip current starting to pull me," says Booker.

Two other men were already fighting the current to help the boy. One of them was 47-year-old Steven Wahler. Four heroes went in. Two never made it out alive. 

"The other guy was in front of me, and had the little boy."

That man and Booker survived.

"Whenever I turned around and made my way back to shore, is whenever I realized that Bradley had run off into the water as well."

But the rip current pulled Bradley and Wahler under. 

"It was extremely strong, I weigh 300 pounds and it was pulling me. It took everything I had to pull back," recalls Booker.

Wahler's body was found just hours later. Investigators then found Murphy's body Tuesday morning after searching for more than 12 hours. Booker says he's relieved to have closure about his cousin.

"Definitely one of the best people that I've ever met." 

He also says he's happy the boy they went in to save is OK.

"I just want to tell him that I'm thankful that he's safe, that was the whole part of the mission of getting into the water, was making sure he was safe."

Plantation Dunes Resort is not commenting on the incident, with respect to the families involved. 

We've learned Wahler was an IT manager at a newspaper called The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Kentucky.  He was on vacation in Fort Morgan with his wife and two teenagers.

Murphy is from Mobile. 

We're told both Wahler and Murphy didn't know each other or the boy they tried to save. Murphy's cousin tells me he never met the boy's family on that beach when it happened, but hopes someday, he will. Authorities say the boy was not from the area. 

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