Kayaker Darren Bade had just finished up a session at the Cuyahoga River near Main Street Bridge in Kent, Ohio, when he heard screaming.
It was around 6:56 p.m. on Saturday when a young girl fell into the river, which was quite cold and moving quickly.
The girl’s mother jumped in after her daughter, but according to comments on the City of Kent Fire Department‘s post, she wasn’t a great swimmer either. The two were swept into debris and pinned by the current as water washed over them.
Thankfully for both of them, Bade was close enough that he was able to get right back into the water and head for them. The avid kayaker had also recently had rescue training with the local Keel-Haulers Canoe Club, and was the right man for the job.
“I saw them moving toward the island and I got in the water quick as I could and paddled across to the island,” Bade told WEWS-TV. “I was just in a big hurry to get down there.
“It took me a little while to, to get them onto the island. I had to kind of hop, skip across some logs and actually get them across those logs as well, in I would say a fairly dangerous spot for them to be located.”
By the time Bade had reached them, two police officers had arrived and they swam across the river to get to the island and help.
A short while later, two more first responders arrived and swam out to the island to assist the pair, and a rescue boat was called in to take them to shore.
The girl was reportedly breathing but barely conscious, and was showing characteristic signs of drowning. She was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital for treatment.
The City of Kent Fire Department commended Bade’s actions as well as the efforts of the first responders. Fire department Capt. David Moore added that it was an extremely dangerous spot for the mother and daughter to be swept to.
“The water flow pushes people right into the island, which can be dangerous because there’s travel hazards down there,” Moore told WEWS. “So the baby and the mom were at the tip of that island.
“They were both very, very lucky. The water isn’t at the highest point that we see it, but it is moving fast. And it was deep enough water where they both could have easily drowned.”
While the fire department had no update on the status of the two, a commenter on the department’s post said she knew the family and that the girl had spent a night in the hospital but was back to herself.
The mother also commented on the post to say they were doing OK — and that they’re “never going for a walk down there again.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.