ANCHORAGE — A 10-year-old girl waded into head-high frigid water and sticky mud to save two youngsters from drowning, authorities said Wednesday.
Michelle Lampert of Anchorage said she knew of the dangers of Cheney Lake, but she did not hesitate to do what she could when she heard panicked pleas for help.
"I never want to see anyone drown. It would be terrible," she said. "I was scared. But now I feel happy."
Police said 9-year-old Jeremy Franklin and 8-year-olds Richard Hamlon and Chris Hillmer were playing on the north shore of the popular swimming hole Tuesday when they got in trouble.
"I just heard this screaming, saying, 'Help, help! I'm drowning,' " Michelle said. "I looked, and they were splashing around and everything."
Runs for Rope
She ran to her yard for a length of rope, then raced to the shoreline near the boys.
Barefoot, wearing only a T-shirt and pants, Michelle waded waist-deep into the 45-degree water across a bottom with treacherous patches of mud.
"The one kid (Hillmer) held the end of the rope and I waded out," she said. "The one boy was splashing in the water and looked like he was trying to swim, so I threw him the rope first. We pulled him in."
Then Michelle went back after Jeremy, still floating in deeper water and motionless.
"I had to go way out. I was on my tiptoes and I had to grab his foot and pull him to me," she said. "Then I got hold of his body and lifted his face out of the water. Then I backed up so I could get my feet back on the bottom again."
Uses Cardiac Compressions
Jeremy was not breathing. Not knowing what else to do, Michelle said, she tried pushing on his chest using the cardiac compressions she had seen on television and at a school demonstration.
Paramedics arrived moments later.
Jeremy Franklin was reported in stable condition at a local hospital. Richard Hamlon was examined in the emergency room and released.