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Duck hunter nearly drowns in icy river after simple mistake

Tommy Covington shares emotional warning on Facebook after duck-hunting mishap nearly costs him his life.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- A Little Rock man is Facebook-famous after he uploaded a video after his duck-hunting mishap nearly cost him his life.

“I have duck hunted for 30 years and it’s never happened to me, and it happened, just like that,” Covington said, remembering last week when he, his son, and his dog were hunting on the Arkansas River.

Covington had decided to hop back on the boat to go retrieve a couple decoys that were floating in the water.

“I saw my life jacket and I thought, ‘You know what, I’ve been doing this a million times, I don’t really need the jacket,’ and so I didn’t take it with me,” Covington explained.

Those almost became his famous last words.

“I walked to the front of the boat, and before you know it, I fell through the ice,” he added.

It happened in the blink of an eye. Covington says as ice water began saturating his heavy jacket and boots, his body became heavy, and he was pulled to the bottom of the river.

Paralyzed, and helpless, he explained he “struggled trying to get back up into the boat.”

But Covington wasn’t going to let himself die without putting up a fight first. As he grasped the side of the boat, he yelled at his son not to jump in and help him.

“I said, ‘Matt, don’t come in! You’re going to drown, too!”

If anything, Covington was not going to put his son in harm’s way.

“For me to drown, I would’ve been gone. But then what really made my upset was about me being a dad—I almost drowned in front of my son,” he explained.

It was a guilt he didn’t want his child to bear for the rest of his life.

Fortunately, Covington made it to the boat and pulled onto shore. But sadly, some aren’t as lucky as Covington was. He says many duck hunters lose their lives on icy bodies of water in the wintry weather.

“The bad thing is, being a person who runs a mentoring program to kids through hunting and fishing, and I didn’t have my life jacket on,” Covington explained.

His experience serves as a reminder that the “it won’t happen to me” mentality is within everyone. And instead of beating himself up over it, Covington is using his second shot at life as a reminder that you can never be too safe.

Here's a link to Covington's video that went viral: https://www.facebook.com/tommy.covington.1/posts/10215688293859534?pnref=story

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