A man hailed a hero when he braved the icy waters of the Red River last spring to save a teen pulled a woman from the river Friday.

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This article was published 4/9/2009 (4685 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A man hailed a hero when he braved the icy waters of the Red River last spring to save a teen pulled a woman from the river Friday.

But sadly, he was unable to save a friend who had jumped into the river in an attempt to save the woman.

Faron Hall berates himself after pulling woman (left) out of the river, but couldn't save her boyfriend.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Faron Hall berates himself after pulling woman (left) out of the river, but couldn't save her boyfriend.

Faron Hall was on the bank of the river at the base of the Norwood Bridge, behind the Dominion Shopping Centre, at around noon with four friends when one of them, a woman, slipped into the water, officials and witnesses said. Her boyfriend jumped in to save her, but neither could swim.

"Faron went in and pulled the woman out, and he went back to get the guy, but he had gone under," district fire chief Bryan McNamara said Friday afternoon.

Police divers recovered the body of a man in his late 20s from the river Friday evening. His name has not been released. Hall earned national attention last May when he jumped into the frigid Red River May 3 to help a 19-year-old who had tumbled off the guard rail of the Provencher Bridge. Mayor Sam Katz awarded Hall the Mayor's Medal of Valour and Hall's efforts were singled out during a session of the provincial legislature.

At the time, Hall, an admitted alcoholic, had been living under a bench near the bridge, a place he'd called home for seven years. After saving the man from the river, Hall, who was dubbed the 'homeless hero,' moved into a Manitoba Housing apartment on Marion Street, close to the spot where he and his friends were relaxing on the river bank.

Witnesses said Hall and his friends had been drinking wine along the riverbank a couple of hours earlier, and some said at least one of the group appeared intoxicated.

McNamara said Hall was hard on himself for not being quick enough to rescue his other friend. "He was pretty upset he wasn't able to get the man out," McNamara said. "He was berating himself."

A street person, who goes by the name of Zone, said he had been with Hall and the group earlier and returned to console his friends while rescuers searched along the shore. "(The rescued woman) kept crying, 'why didn't you save him? Why didn't you save him?' " Zone said. "And Faron just kept saying, 'I tried, I tried.' "

Hall and the woman he saved were taken away by police.

A member of the Dakota Tipi First Nation, Hall has previously told the Free Press he grew up in a good foster home in Waverley Heights, finished high school and was working as a teaching assistant at Hugh John Macdonald School while taking education classes at the University of Manitoba. Alcoholism took hold, especially after his mother was murdered on Maryland Street about a decade ago. About three years ago, his sister was stabbed on Main Street.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca