‘She had no heartbeat’: Medic, Good Samaritans help save teens from drowning near dam

WSMV's Tosin Fakile has the latest.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 7:26 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A 17-year-old girl is still in the hospital after Springfield County paramedics said she basically drowned and was clinically dead before she and her 16-year-old friend were rescued on Sunday.

According to Robertson County first responders, the latest update from Monday morning was that a 17-year-old girl was still at TriStar Centennial Pediatrics in critical condition on a ventilator.

The dam in Robertson County near the Fairgrounds almost took the lives of two teenage girls on Sunday.

Captain Michelle Morris who was one of the first responders that responded to the scene said the 16-year-old said her friend was trying to get a ball and some trash out from the bottom of the dam when the 17-year old slipped and fell in the water near a concrete slab.

“And the undercurrent kept pulling her under so her friend jumped in to try to help her out but the friend got stuck in there too,” said Michelle Morris, Captain & Critical Care paramedic at Robertson County EMS.

Morris said with the help of a couple walking by and first responders the girls were saved from the water.

“The couple with the dog came, the husband called 911 and the wife took the leash off her dog and was trying to throw it out to the girl to try to get them closer to the shore to get them out,” said Morris. “At the same point, one an off-duty police officer was driving across the bridge and he saw the inside t going on. He stopped and turned around and came back and he helped the fire department and EMS crew who first arrived to get them both out of the water.”

Morris said she drove the 16-year-old in an ambulance to the hospital.

“When we got both of them out of the water, the 16-year-old female while okay, was a little bit hypothermic from being in the water and it being 47 degrees outside, and the unconscious female didn’t have a pulse. She wasn’t breathing. The fire department and EMS crew initiated CPR,” Morris said.

Officials said the force of the water was powerful.

“Like you can look at that ball, it pushed the ball down, holds it down under water for a couple of seconds and comes back up. That’s what was happening to the 17-year-old,” Morris said.

“I feel bad that they got caught up in an awful situation,” said Ashley Powenski, a Springfield Resident who was walking the greenway by the creek.

Shocking news for those who walk that greenway as they pray for the recovery of the teenager.

“We’re praying for her and hoping that she’s going to be okay and her friend too because I know how traumatic it can be,” said Powenski.

Even though the 17-year-old is recovering, WSMV4 asked Captain Morris how lucky the 17-year-old girl is to be alive.

“She’s very blessed to have a friend that she does and the girl that jumped in just to save her. She risked her own life. We’re very shocked that there weren’t two drownings, to be honest with you,” Morris said. “The only thing I can say is that she’s blessed because she had no heartbeat or wasn’t breathing at all when we arrived.”

Officials say it’s unclear how long the two were in the creek.

“I asked the other girl how long she was in the water and she said two to three mins before somebody came. I said how long was the other girl in the water before she got in there and she said maybe 5 mins. But she wasn’t unconscious the whole time,” Morris said.

A GoFundMe has been created by the family to help with expenses related to the teenager’s recovery.