06/29/2016 12:27 EDT | Updated 06/29/2016 12:59 EDT

Avtar Hothi, Sikh Man, Uses Turban To Save Swimmer Near Kamloops, B.C.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A Sikh man in Kamloops, B.C., is being called a hero after he used his turban to help save a woman from the frigid North Thompson River in the province's southern Interior.

Avtar Hothi and his son Paul were working at their family farm in Heffley Creek, just north of Kamloops, on Saturday evening when they heard cries for help.

They rushed to the riverbank to see a young woman struggling to stay afloat in the strong current.

Paul Hothi says they urged her to try to get closer to the grassy riverbank, but with nothing nearby for her to grab, they feared one of them would have to risk a jump into the water.

sikh turban Sikh men consider it improper to show their hair in public. (Photo: Getty Images)

Hothi says that's when his father pulled off his turban which, when unwrapped, is a nearly three-metre length of cloth.

The woman was able to clutch one end when it was tossed to her, and she was quickly pulled from the water.

"We weren't prepared for it or expecting anything like this and his quick thinking," said the younger Hothi. "We used his turban as a rope because it would have been a lot harder just to pull someone up off shore."

He also said someone brought a blanket and the frightened woman was calmed down and returned safely to relatives in a nearby home.

Sikh men consider it improper to show their hair in public, but Hothi noted those rules don't apply if it's a case of life and death. (CFJC)

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