Dane Entze and his wife Kristen of Elk Ridge, Utah, were driving home after celebrating their anniversary when they came across a situation that would change the life of a stranger. They had just returned from a weekend in Lava Springs, about an hour south of Idaho Falls, when they saw a car speed down a boat ramp and into the river. The couple was on their way to pick up their children from a relative’s house in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Kristen was surprised to see the speeding car plunge into the water from the boat ramp below as she passed through a bridge. Dane dashed to his car while his wife dialed 911. He got out of their car as they approached the boat ramp, scaled a wire face, and ran across the canal to the boat launch. Dane noticed a woman leave the car and begin swimming as the vehicle began to sink into the river.
“I immediately asked if she was OK and if there was anyone else in the car,” Dane recalled. ‘I’m committing suicide and there is no one else in the car, I don’t want to live anymore,’ she replied. The woman did not attempt to swim to Dane because she did not want to live any longer. She instead swam deeper and further into the cold river, away from the beach. Her energy was dwindling, but despite her resolve, Dane, 36, was determined to pursue her.
The temperature was 19 degrees at the time, but Dane called out to the woman, saying, “I don’t know who you are, but I’m here, I love you, and I’m going to help you.” Dane was so intent on saving her that he disregarded her request to leave him alone. She couldn’t fight him, so he said, “At that point, I threw off my jacket and jumped into the river.” When I arrived, I introduced myself and stated that I would assist her.
I wrapped my arms around hers and began making our way back through the thin layer of ice to the shore, where another gentleman had arrived and assisted me in pulling her to safety.” His wife had blankets ready, and they all sat close together as they waited for the Idaho Falls fire and police departments to arrive. Dane was especially concerned that they didn’t have much time to save the woman.
“I knew we were out of time,” he said. She was freezing cold and out of energy. When she started further out into the river, it was clear that things were about to get much worse. “I wanted her to be safe.” The couple only left when the first responders arrived, allowing them to pick up their children. They returned to the scene two hours later to check on the situation, but the area had already been cleared.
The couple reflected on their own lives as a result of the unexpected ordeal. “I guess I was caught up in my own woes and struggles that I had forgotten that there are people who are really struggling with internal battles that aren’t always easy to see on the outside,” Dane reflected. “I think people, including myself, need to simply be nice to those around us,” he added.
We all have different beliefs, opinions, ideologies, passions, and pains, but we are all on the same journey and will all experience difficulty at some point. I did not choose to be in this position, but I happened to be in the right place at the right time.” Other members of the family have also assisted people who have faced difficulties in their lives. “I’ve learned, however, that mental challenges can begin small and gradually grow into this nagging monster that can leave a person feeling so helpless and alone that they don’t believe there is anywhere for relief,” he said.
Dane received numerous compliments for his bravery that day. The Idaho Falls Fire Department issued a statement saying, “We would like to express our gratitude to the individual who risked their own life to save another.” We are extremely grateful that both parties involved were able to safely exit the freezing water.” Dane has since communicated with the woman’s family and hopes to meet with them soon.
Even in these difficult times, there are still Good Samaritans willing to risk their lives for others and say “I love you” to someone who desperately needs to hear those words. Dane’s story is told below: