The picture above was posted on my Facebook page Saturday night. It was captioned “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Just a few hours later, that beautiful day in the neighborhood turned disastrous. It was a tragic evening at the lake where we park our camper!!
We arrived at the campground around 5:00 p.m., played a game of bean bags, grilled some steak over the fire, ate our dinner, and then went for a walk. While making our way back to the campsite walking on the beach, a female adult and two children asked us if we had seen a blonde, five year-old girl. We said no, asked where they were staying (the lodge where we are camped at) and asked for her name.
By the time we got back to the campground, most campers were gathered together searching for this little girl. A family member dialed 9-1-1. When several emergency personnel arrived, one of them took charge and asked for volunteers to form a human chain and walk the lake hanging on to hands, sweeping the lake floor. And so my husband and I, along, with MANY others, headed to the water.
The scene that took place after sweeping back and forth a few times in that warm lake water keeps playing over and over in my mind, friends. And my eyes keep leaking every time I see it!
We had just swept the left side of the dock in deeper water. We turned around and returned to the dock in shallower water with a line of about 15 people. We then moved to the right side of the dock to help with the sweep in shallower water. One group of volunteers had moved straight out from the dock where one of the emergency guys was searching for her body. As our group of 15 was walking to the west, we heard one of the guys behind us yell.
We all turned and the site we saw shattered our hearts. The blonde, five year old little girl’s limp body had been found and was being handed to another emergency personnel who was on the dock.
The screams and cries of anguish from the beach, where many people were watching including her mom and dad and siblings, were agonizing. We watched in great sadness as the EMT’s gave this little girl CPR while she was lying in the sand on the beach. Her body was then rushed away in the ambulance.
This precious little 5-year old girl drowned Saturday night.
More heart shattering than any call I was ever on as an EMT!
I am thankful it was an emergency personnel who found her and not one of us volunteers in the water. And, I am also thankful she was found before dark. I was told that victims who drown in lakes aren’t always found that quickly.
On Sunday, we found out a little bit more about this little girl. Her family was visiting other family members at the campground for the day on Saturday. She had been out playing in the water earlier in the day in the same area they found her body. People had seen her bouncing in the water and having fun in that same spot. It seems that she went back out to play in the water without telling anyone.
Thoughts that I have after this tragic event, and I write these with no judgement passed forward and no fingers pointed at anyone:
- Please insist that your children wear life jackets while at the lake. Especially if they can’t swim.
- Make sure the life jacket fits comfortably so they get used to it.
- PLEASE be vigilant in keeping an eye on your children. We all know how quickly they can disappear.
- Go hug your children—right now!
My eyes haven’t stopped dripping since Saturday! Please say some prayers for the family who lost their youngest child, and for ALL the people who experienced this tragedy!! ~Wendy