Canadian golf professional saves man from sinking minivan

Josh Gardner
www.pgaofalberta.com
Josh Gardner, a head golf professional in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, saved a man from a minivan on Saturday moments after it crashed into a pond not far from where Gardner was on the practice tee giving a lesson.
By T.J. Auclair, Senior Interactive Producer
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Head golf professionals wear many hats. Among their duties? Organize tournaments, give lessons, mentor assistant professionals, run a pro shop -- the list goes on.

One duty you wouldn't expect to find on that list is "life saver." However, you can now add that to Josh Gardner's resume.

Gardner, the head golf professional at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, quickly sprung into action when he saw something you don't see everyday on the golf course this past Saturday.

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As he was giving a lesson, Gardner noticed a minivan coming down a hill behind him. Moments later, it went airborne and plunged into the middle of a pond on the course.

Gardner immediately directed one of his assistants to call 911. Gardner called out to the driver several times, but when he didn't get a response, he made the decision to jump into the water.

Here's what Gardner told the Calgary Sun:

"He wasn't responding so I just made the choice to go into the water," he said.

"(The minivan) started to go down, I could see the water level rising in it."

Gardner said he swam out about 20 metres to the van, which was sinking in water he estimates was about 12 metres deep.

"I swam in through the driver's side window and got his seatbelt off," he said.

"The water was coming in strong, it was up to his chest."

Gardner safely got the driver -- a man in his 40s, who emergency crews believe experienced a medical situation before the crash -- back to dry land.

With a belief that there may be another person in the minivan, Gardner jumped right back into the water to inspect. It turns out the driver was the only occupant.

"It's a great feeling (to have helped save him), but I just did what anybody would do," Gardner told the Calgary Sun. "It was an emotional day, but it was a best case scenario for that situation."

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.