RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — A Father’s Day on the water took a terrible turn Sunday when a young girl went beneath the surface in the American River.
Metro Fire officials say it happened just before 2:30 p.m. on the banks at Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova.
After speaking with family, authorities say the girl was submerged for nearly eight minutes before family pulled her from the water.
Multiple emergency crews responded, including park rangers and sheriff’s deputies on jet-skis in the area, but initially, the girl was unresponsive.
“Them, as well as some bystanders, initiated CPR before our engine and ambulance company arrived,” said Battalion Chief, Kevin Wegener with Metro Fire. “Our helicopter, Copter 1 arrived and landed here on site, right out here in the field, and transported the victim to Mercy San Juan Hospital.”
Just before transporting her, emergency crews were able to establish a pulse, and the girl began breathing on her own but remained unconscious.
“We just seen the helicopter come down and pick somebody up and then up and out of the way,” said Brian Perkins, who was out on the water enjoying Father’s Day with his family.
Perkins said the intense rescue was a stark reminder to keep careful watch over his own kids, secure their life jackets, and think safety above all.
“Especially how fast this water is and how much water we’ve had in a while, it doesn’t take long for the kids to just get swept away,” Perkins said his thoughts are with the young victim’s family and he hopes she makes it through. “All these father’s right here probably know exactly what’s going on too, so they all think about that,” he said.
Investigators are still unclear if the teen was wearing a life jacket or not, but say they’re looking into it.