Instead, John Keese was calling for help.
Bryan and his family were enjoying a Memorial Day weekend camping trip on Kerr Lake when Keese, a Raleigh resident, was struck by a hit and run boater.
Bryan is an investigator with the Bladen County Sheriff's Department.
The hit and run boat nearly severed his legs, according to published reports. Keese is now recovering at home.
Keese had fallen from his jet ski and was trying to climb back aboard when he was hit. Although he told authorities he tried to jump out of the boat's way, the motorboat never changed course.
Keese managed to drag himself aboard the jet ski and begin idling toward shore, calling for help.
When Bryan first saw Keese, the man was lying on the jet ski. The injured man was trying to idle the jet ski to shore, but having a hard time of it.
The detective waded out and helped guide the man to shore, then helped him off.
It was then that Bryan saw Keese's injured feet and legs. One of the man's feet was nearly severed, and the other leg was badly damaged as well.
"I knew we needed some serious help, fast," Bryan said.
As he called to his family for help, Bryan's niece used a cellular phone to call 911. His wife began gathering materials for a splint and bandages.
Among the other people camping at the popular Kerr Lake campground were a nurse and an emergency medical technician from Wake County.
"It was amazing to me the way they just took over," Bryan said. "They were both completely professional-I mean, it's obvious this man is very, very badly hurt, but they didn't bat an eye."
Local rescue personnel were on the scene in minutes, and another camper went to find Keese's wife and children, who were at a nearby beach.
Bryan said he directed the emergency vehicles into the site, where the nurse and EMT were working on Keese.
Bryan credits his training with helping him take control of the situation and help the jet skier, but he said the "heroes" are the emergency personnel who responded.
"The fire and rescue people saved that guy," he said. "My training is in investigating crimes-I see things like this after they happen."
"The fire and rescue workers, now, they have the real job-they have to save people's lives. Being involved in something like this is eye-opening."
The boat operator that hit Keese has not been found. The driver will likely only be charged with a misdemeanor, and possibly fined.
"With 800 miles of shoreline, there's going to be a lot of boats out there," Bryan said. "There's no telling where that guy was going, or where he went to after he hit the jet ski."
It wasn't the first time Bryan responded to an emergency while on vacation.
Several years ago, near the same spot, a disabled man accidentally drove his riding mower too close to the edge of the lake, and bogged down.
Bryan said he heard the man calling "hey, hey," but never really investigated it until he began calling for help.
Bryan contacted the local sheriff's department, who eventually found the man.
"If he'd have called for help in the first case," Bryan said, "he might have gotten out of there sooner." The man was eventually fine.
Despite two odd incidents, Bryan said he'll have no problem returning to Kerr Lake.
"We like to camp, and it's a pretty place there," he said. "Peaceful, and a lot of good people."
"Maybe next time there won't be so much excitement."