Published: Nov 01, 2013 7:02 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 02, 2013 5:10 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A night of fishing takes a frightening turn when a man gets pulled underwater in a canal by a strong current. Neighbors rushed in to rescue the victim and his wife who jumped into the canal, trying to save him. Despite their efforts, Cape Coral Fire Department reports the man in his 70s drowned.

This happened Friday evening on Del Prado Boulevard and Viking Court in southeast Cape Coral, just south of the Cape Coral Bridge.

"I heard screaming, very loud, because the people there were under the bridge," neighbor Ron Collins said.

Collins ran outside to find the woman in a canal, struggling to hold a man above the water. "I recognized that they speak German," Collins, originally from Germany, said. "She said, 'Peter' in German, 'Peter, talk to me!'"

Collins' wife called 911 while he and a neighbor grabbed a nearby cable and tossed it out. "The lady, she tell us, I have no power more," he said. "The lady was small, the man was very big. We gave them a cable, we pulled them, and then the emergency was coming."

"The male had entered the water because he was fishing, attempting to pull a fish in, and was unable to maintain himself above water and went under," Captain Michael Heeder with Cape Coral Fire Department said. "The female, I understand to be his wife, entered the water in an attempt to save him."

Captain Heeder said the elderly man had no pulse and was not breathing when paramedics arrived. The woman's feet were bleeding, cut from barnacles in the water.

Collins helped translate for first responders. "The doctor asked how long they were in the water," Collins said. "She told me 5-6 minutes in the water, not under the water. I hope he does well. I don't know him."

Heeder said the current was part of the problem. Below the bridge, the canal narrows and the current speeds up just like a rip current in the ocean. It appears the man was pulled with it. Heeder warns, you should never enter canals unless you're well-trained.