By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 15-year-old boy who was rescued from drowning wants to find the stranger who saved his life last Thursday at St. Paul’s Lake Phalen.

Lewis Donley’s family has posted messages on social media in hopes of finding the cyclist who stopped to help. And now they have enlisted the help of WCCO.

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“I was casting right out here,” Lewis said.

His lucky lure snapped off the line.

“It was a top water hollow body frog. It’s something you jiggle on the surface,” he said.

Lewis went in after it, and swam 20 to 30 feet from his fishing post.

“I made it out there but I was pretty tired, so I grabbed the lure and turned around and the weeds wrapped around my legs,” he said.

Lewis was stuck and could no longer tread water. He would touch the bottom to push himself to the top.

Exhaustion set in, and a friend could not make it through the weeds to help.

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“He got out and called for help up there and some guy happened to be riding by who happened to be a lifeguard,” Lewis said. “He just like ran down the hill and jumped in and got me out and brought me back here. I was getting really tired so he came right in the nick of time.”

Mike Donley met his son’s ambulance at the hospital.

“It’s the kind of call you don’t want to get,” Mike said. “He was covered with warming cloths, his temperature had gone down to 93 degrees and he wasn’t doing well. It was great to see him start to come to life again.”

Mike’s thankful to the stranger who stopped to save his son.

“The fact that he was not only riding by at the right time but he saw Lewis and was a lifeguard and was able to dive in and not get caught himself and lose his life, it’s a miracle,” Mike said.

And now the family wants to find the person who gave Lewis a second chance.

“I want to say thank you to him because he saved my life and I’m grateful for that,” Lewis said.

Mike said they have talked about how this could have been a very different Father’s Day.

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This happened on June 9 around 8 p.m. near the Lake Phalen Picnic Pavilion. Please email jlmayerle@wcco.com if you know the cyclist’s identity.

Jennifer Mayerle