Video: Sheriff’s Helicopter Dramatic Rescue of Drowning Teen

A video from inside a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office helicopter shows the dramatic rescue of a drowning teen girl. The deputies’ quick action saved her life. We love to share these positive police stories to balance out all of the negativity in the media.

Fresno County Sheriff’s Office press release on the incident:

At 5:00 pm on Monday, July 25, 2016, dispatchers at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call that a 16 year old Fresno girl was nearly drowning in the San Joaquin River. Deputies with the FSO Air Support Unit immediately responded to the call in EAGLE One helicopter.

They flew to an area of the river, west of 11605 Old Friant Road. Deputies with the Boating Enforcement Unit were also responding with their safety equipment, but due to the fast moving water, it became too dangerous for the victim to wait for them to arrive so the Air Support Unit moved in for a rescue operation.

15 minutes after the initial call, deputies aboard EAGLE One spotted the victim who became separated from her inner tube and was pinned against a large tree, which was lying in the water.

The pilot hovered the helicopter above the victim and the tactical flight officer dropped a rope with a cinch collar attached to it down to the victim. The girl was able to wrap the collar around her body and the helicopter lifted her out of the water and carried her a short distance to shore where she was safely set on the ground.

At 6:00 pm, emergency personnel who had responded in an ambulance treated the girl at the scene. She mentioned her legs felt numb from being in the cold water, but she did not require a trip to the hospital and was able to go home with her mother.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to be safe while doing activities in and around water. Take simple precautions such as: Wear a life jacket and stay close to shore if you’re not an experienced swimmer. Be careful in lakes, there may be steep drop off points you can’t see from the surface. Respect the power of rivers, they often contain strainers, which are large objects like rocks and trees that allow water to pass through, but a person can easily get stuck and pushed under water. Do not mix alcohol and swimming, alcohol causes swimmers to fatigue faster than normal and can create dangerous situations.