Eldon Cooper is a walking miracle and a testament to the power of God.
This past February, he was checking on his pond on his Arkansas property when his John Deere tractor went under water, trapping him underneath.
“People have said I was really lucky; that I should buy lottery tickets,” he told AG Daily. “Let me tell you, this was not luck.”
Cooper believes with all his heart that his survival was due to divine intervention.
“It was all God, it wasn’t anything I did,” he explained. “I couldn’t have saved myself, and they almost left me. They almost left me and was going to come back the next day.”
Ever since the incident, Cooper has made it his mission to tell everyone about his survival, including various church groups and organizations. He refers to February 28, 2018, as “God’s Miracle.”
On that fateful day, Cooper had plans to meet his wife Debra at their 6 p.m. Bible study. But before he went, he decided he needed to check on their pond. It sat on their 25-acre property and was home to a dam that needed to be regularly monitored.
“I hopped in the tractor, not grabbing my cell phone, a handgun, anything,” Eldon said. “I mean, really, I was only going to be gone for a few minutes.”
He drove down to the pond, filling a bucket of dirt on the way for the dam. Once he made his way to the dam, he realized that there was a 4-foot drop due to the heavy raining over the previous days.
“I didn’t want to damage the tractor, so I started backing up to head home, something I have done 150 times, probably,” he said. “Well, for some reason my rear tire got too close to the edge, and the edge on the pond side gave way, dropping the rear of the tractor about 18 inches or so towards the pond. It stopped before going over the edge, as I dropped the bucket to the ground.”
The John Deere only had one door on the left side, which Cooper quickly realized would be detrimental if it rolled.
“I didn’t have much time. I thought two things,” he said. “Should I open the door and jump out and try to swim around the tractor and get away from it before it would roll, if it was going to roll? I’m a great swimmer. That wouldn’t have been any problem to swim it, but could I get out of the way before it rolled? And the other thing, should I just wait here for help.”
Minutes later, his worst fear came true, and the tractor started to roll.
Cooper got out of the tractor cab before it started filling with water, managing to get his mouth and nose above the water.
“You can imagine what I was thinking. I am going to sit here and asphyxiate on my own air,” he said. “They are going to find me in here and this is going to be my tomb.”
He knew there was only one thing he could do at that point: pray for God’s intervention.
“I needed that peace that passes all understanding, so I asked for it,” he said. “You know what; that peace came over me almost immediately. I stopped panicking, and I stopped trying to breathe so hard because I couldn’t get a full breath. But I stopped panicking, and my mind cleared and I could think.”
“I continued to pray. I prayed for my wife Debra, my kids, my family, that God would be with them and help them through whatever the outcome would be,” he recalled. “I prayed for His will to be done. I prayed that somehow, some way, something good would come out of this situation and God would be glorified.”
He didn’t ask for his own life, but that God could work through whatever happened.
Cooper eventually lost consciousness, but right before he did, he remembers the flashers on his tractor turning on. He knew that God had his hand in it because these could only turn on by their rotary switch.
He didn’t show up to the Bible study that night, which worried Debra.
When she arrived home around 7:15 p.m., she headed straight to the pond, which she was led to by the tractor’s flashers.
Debra saw that the tractor was turned over, with the only door being blocked by the bottom of the pond, and immediately called 911.
While she waiting, instead of panicking, she called all her family, friends and church members to start a prayer chain.
When responders arrived, they thought that Cooper must have been dead due to the position of the tractor.
“They saw my protective structure on the back to keep rocks from hitting the glass when mowing, and they thought that was the ROPS [roll-over protective structure]. They really didn’t know what to do,” Cooper said. “In their eyes, I was either in my seatbelt, or I was pinned under the tractor. Either way, I would be dead.”
They then decided that they would come to recover Cooper and his tractor the next day, as no rescue was needed.
But God was still working.
“When I went unconscious I should have went limp and dropped down back into the water,” he said. “God literally had to hold me back up into that air pocket.”
The response team was about to leave when Cooper’s brother called out to him.
“He said, ‘Eldon, are you there; are you alive?’ and I responded somehow, with God’s help,” Eldon said. “They described it as ‘deep, gutteral sounds,’ but I don’t remember any of this.”
They called those who had left back, as well as another ambulance. Then, they extracted a barely alive Eldon from the tractor.
It had been three and a half hours in the 49-degree water, yet Cooper’s heart was still beating. He was admitted to the hospital and woke up hours later at 1:30 a.m. to nurses struggling with his IV.
“I was like, ‘What are you all doing?’” Cooper said. “It startled them. I wasn’t supposed to wake up. I was in [a] coma.”
Two days after the incident, he was released, recovering much faster than anyone had expected.
Ever since that fateful incident, Cooper has been adamant about the role that God played in delivering him from certain death.
“Had God not intervened, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “I don’t believe in luck. God had done his will, he had saved my life.”
(H/T: AG Daily)