LOS ANGELES – When DeWalt Mix lost his prosthetic leg while paddling off the coast of Long Beach, the local fire department came on the scene to try to recover it.
When rescue divers failed to find him on Sunday, Mix almost lost hope of seeing him again. He imagined he was hiding at the bottom of the ocean, carrying with him any hope of competing in the javelin throwing at the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
They still couldn’t find him on Monday. But, armed with new information about exactly where Mix was when his leg slipped, they left for the third day on Tuesday. Soon after, one of the divers sent a message to the Hollywood writer, director and producer.
“He sent us a picture of the divers coming out of the water with a triumphant fist in the air,” Mix recalled on Wednesday, giving a cheerful laugh.
And in one of the other hands of the divers was the lack of carbon fiber and the titanium leg of the Mix. Furthermore, it was apparently no worse for being submerged in salt water for three days.
Western film star Tom Mix’s nephew-nephew lost most of his left leg in a near-fatal accident with a drunk driver who collided with his motorcycle on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in 2007.
State dart champion at Pomona College in California, he quit the sport after school, but recovered after the accident.
After being left out of the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games with injuries, he tirelessly trained for this one, imagining at 41 that this would be his last chance.
“I rode a bike every day for the past two weeks, but after I lost my leg I had to stop,” he said. “So, in the past few days, I was quite upset.”
He spent his days on crutches while thinking about ordering a new prosthesis, which could take up to seven months to deliver and cost up to $ 20,000, which he was not sure what his insurance would cover.
Meanwhile, finding the leg was no easy task.
“This area is very challenging because it ranges from 9 to 19 meters in zero visibility,” said Captain Omar Naranjo, of the Navy fire department.
He gave Mix a lot of credit for being able to remember exactly where he was when his leg slipped when he returned to a friend’s boat at the Long Beach marina.
But Mix says this is only part of the story.
“Most of the whole story is the fact that none of these rescue workers gave up,” he said. “I am impressed by how professional and dedicated they are.”