Rescuers recount saving 8 kids from lake
Helpers included Vancouver woman, family at reunion
Monday, September 17, 2012
PORTLAND — A family gathered for a reunion described rescuing eight Oregon children from a lake with a steep drop-off, where two girls already had sunk to the muddy bottom, Sunday at a news conference.
The family pulled the children from danger Saturday by passing each one from person to person until they reached the shore of Henry Hagg Lake.
None of the children could swim, Gaston, Ore., Fire Chief Roger Mesenbrink said Sunday.
"I have been through every kind of rescue scenario you can probably dream," Mesenbrink said. "Never have I seen this sort of outcome. A trained team would have done no better."
The children, who range from 6 to 13, were taken by ambulance to hospitals with injuries that appeared not to be life-threatening, The Oregonian reported .
Evan Gibson said he looked up from washing his feet in the lake to see a small boy flailing his arms from the water.
Gibson said he yelled, "'He needs help!'" as he sprinted into the water. Other family members followed, including three sisters and his nephew.
"We realized we had no idea how many were underwater," said Michelle Rushing of Vancouver.
First, the mothers of two of the children were pulled from the lake. Like their kids, the mothers didn't know how to swim, the fire chief said.
The rescuers then found the two girls on the lake bottom and passed them both back to shore.