ANDOVER (CBS) – A Lawrence kayaker is alive thanks to three firefighters who were out on a training mission.

“It’s one thing to get called to something like this, but to actually come upon it, is a bit different, you’re not really prepared,” said Captain Tara Reardon.

Reardon and Firefighter James Amato were out on the Merrimack River training their newest colleague Jamiel Ortiz on Wednesday.

“I could not believe what I was seeing,” said Amato, a 20-year veteran of the department.

Captain Tara Reardon, Jamiel Ortiz, James Amato of Lawrence Fire Dept. (WBZ-TV)

Captain Tara Reardon, Jamiel Ortiz, James Amato of Lawrence Fire Dept. (WBZ-TV)

The trio waved at the kayaker on the way out, but on their return trip, just 15 minutes later, they realized the kayaker was is in dire need of help.

“He had no pulse, his skin color wasn’t normal,” said Ortiz.

The firefighters lifted the man out of the water, started CPR and raced back to shore, where the 50-year-old Lawrence man was revived.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Reardon said.

The man was brought to Lawrence General Hospital by ambulance and later transferred to a Boston hospital. He was listed in critical condition Wednesday night.

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