He Accepted He Was Going to Die. Then a Hand Came Down

D'Marie O'Connor started a Twitter campaign to find mysterious 'Max' who saved him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2018 8:10 AM CDT
Two men jump into Lake Michigan near North Avenue Beach in Chicago on July 4, 2017.   (Alexandra Wimley/Chicago Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – "Hey Twitter This is Max, Max saved me from drowning yesterday." And so began D'Marie O'Connor's online quest Tuesday to find "Max," the man he said rescued him from 58-degree waters at Chicago's North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day. O'Connor tells the Chicago Tribune that he was hanging out with friends at the beach Monday when a song came on the radio that inspired him to do a backflip into Lake Michigan off a breakwater. O'Connor notes to NBC Chicago he knows how to swim and holds CPR certification, but he was tired after working, had been drinking, and failed to notice that others who were jumping into the water were doing so further down the breakwater, where there were ladders to climb out. He encountered a 7-foot-high "slick wall" with no grips. "My hands start slipping," the 24-year-old tells the Tribune. "I was under the water. … I was going to die. I accepted that fact."

His Snapchatting friends didn't notice he was struggling, but the mysterious Max did, reaching his hand down and yanking O'Connor out of the water. The two took a pic together, and the next day, O'Connor decided he had to find him. He tweeted the photo out and the #FindMax hashtag began. By Thursday morning, success: "WE FOUND MAX!" he posted. A friend sent O'Connor the Twitter handle for a Max Canfield, and O'Connor reached out to him privately. The two plan to meet up for brunch soon, O'Connor's treat. One question some posed to O'Connor on Twitter, though: If he had a picture taken with Canfield on the beach, why didn't he just get his full name and contact info then? "I didn't plan on looking for him. Until i sobered up and realized I might have not been here without him," O'Connor noted. (A Pennsylvania man who couldn't swim jumped into a pool to save a drowning boy.)

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