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Stranger hailed a hero for saving teen from drowning at Delta Lake

By ANNA MEILER

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) -- It started off as a sunny day off from work and Aaron Michik was excited to go boating with friends, but five days later there are still signs of what unfolded that afternoon.

"It replays in your head. Every time I think about it I get goosebumps," said Michik.

Michik and his friends came across three people in the water- a 14-year-old struggling to stay afloat, the man who jumped in to save him and another woman.

"They were screaming he's drowning, he's drowning," recalls Michik.  "I immediately dove in and tried to help the boy and pushed him to my buddy's boat. We pulled him on to the boat and he was exhausted, pure exhausted. He couldn't lift his arms up, he was shaking in shock, curled up in a ball. The mother screaming, crying, vomiting. It was horrible."

They were able to pull the woman to safety too, but 32-year-old William Cook had gone under. Dive teams soon arrived and Michik stayed with them for over an hour. Not giving his own safety a second thought, he jumped in without a life-vest. Looking back, he feels lucky he's okay.

"I didn't even think of that until I got out of the water. I'm like, that wasn't the smartest thing I could've done," said Michick. "I'm happy I was there to help, very happy 'cause we were the only boat around them."

But, if you call him a hero, he won't be quick to take credit.

"My buddies are the heroes. They're all heroes, every single one of them had something to do with it. Every single person in that boat. One called 911, one put the 6-foot stick in there, one threw a life jacket, they all had a big part," he said.

Meanwhile, dive teams continue to search for Cook and will evaluate their next move at the end of the day.

"I don't even know what to say. I feel bad for the family. My heart goes out to the family," he said.

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