Paramedics and Merced County sheriff's deputies responded to the Merced River, about a mile east of Snelling Road on Tuesday, to assist a man suffering from dehydration.
Deputies responded to the scene around 3:30 p.m., thanks to the efforts of a Good Samaritan who stopped to help the man, according to Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
Deputies haven't released the victim's name.
MacKenzie said the man, a 46- year-old dressed in full camouflage fatigues, was walking in the area Tuesday morning and was unable to walk further after becoming dehydrated and exhausted.
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Around 2:30 p.m., 26-year-old Matt Hutchings of Merced was floating down the river on an inner tube with his girlfriend Julie Lee, 23, and Amanda Moua, 23, both of Merced. Hutchings and his friends heard the man's calls for help.
Hutchings found the man about 100 yards away from the bank. He waited with the man, while Moua and Lee went back to Snelling Road to flag down a driver, who called 911.
The deputies and paramedics then hiked to the spot where Hutchings and the man were located. At press time, the man was being treated and was in stable condition.
MacKenzie commended the actions of Hutchings and his friends for stopping and helping the man in need. Without Hutchings' actions, MacKenzie said deputies might not have ever found out about the sick man. "(Hutchings) went above and beyond the call," MacKenzie said.
The man had been sitting in heavy brush and rocks for more than four hours, before Hutchings was finally able to locate him, MacKenzie said.
MacKenzie said it's unknown why the man was near the river, wearing fatigues.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.