Family of Wichita man who drowned trying to rescue woman: He was a hero

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

If there’s one word friends and family called Jake Farley, it was hero.

“He was a hero, that was Jake,” said his mother, Carla. He went on a float trip to the Elk River near Noel, MO last weekend. What was supposed to be a carefree weekend became urgent when he saw a woman drowning.

“He heard a girl screaming for her life, drowning,” she said. “He went in to save her. Some told him ‘No, don’t do it.’ But he did.”

That girl screaming was Madison Capps.

“Half of us had gotten sucked in down to the dam, the other half managed to get out on a ledge, I guess,” she said. “When I went under, I was under for a little while and when I finally surfaced I was about thirty feet from the bank.”

She said she went under water but finally saw Jake, whom she’d never met before, trying to save her life.

Wichita man drowns while trying to rescue woman in river

“I looked at him and I said, what do I do? And he said ‘I don’t know.’ So there was another floatie in the water down there. I gave it to him and we were  down there for thirty minutes before help came,” she said.

For those thirty minutes, every time she started to go under, he lifted her back up.

“That’s what people need to know,” Farley’s other relatives had said. “It wasn’t just that he jumped in and held onto her until rescue crews…no, he did everything. She would’ve died if it weren’t for him.”

Capps agreed.

“A lot of times I would come back up and I would feel his hand on back,” she said.

At one point, something underwater kept getting wrapped around her waste and pulling her down.

Then, it got wrapped around Jake, too.

“I started yelling, I said ‘You have to get it off’ and he said he couldn’t,” Capps said. “I tried to keep talking to him when I could breathe. When I looked back, I couldn’t see him anymore.”

His last act was saving a stranger.

“I’m never going to forget that,” Capps said. “And I just want to live my life the best as I can and hopefully make him proud.”

Farley’s family is grateful she is okay and they mourn the loss of a man they repeatedly called a hero.

“I did talk to him that morning and I got to tell him I love him and to be careful,” Farley said.

Family members said they did question why people were allowed near the river area when the currents were so fast.

For now, though, they want to focus on Farley’s memory.

To family is asking for help with Farley’s funeral expenses, click here.

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