WAITE PARK, Minn. (KMSP) - A 4-year-old girl is in critical condition after a near-drowning incident Saturday afternoon in Waite Park, Minnesota. Now, many are crediting bystanders for their quick-thinking.
According to the Stearns County sheriff's office, at 4:02 p.m., authorities received a 911 call saying a four-year-old girl was missing at Quarry No. 11 in Quarry Park 1802 County Road 137. The girl was last seen in the water.
Bystander Nate Sisk said when he heard the victim's mother yelling that her daughter was drowning, he ordered everyone out the water and asked strong swimmers to enter the water and look for the little girl.
Sisk has made a career in emergency preparedness management, with 10 years in the Air Force and more recently at Xcel Energy’s nuclear power plant in Monticello. He said he relied heavily on his background in life and death situations Saturday.
“You have to be calm or you can’t make a difference. If you are not calm, if you are not focused, you can’t help,” Sisk said.
One of the swimmers found the little girl under 10-15 feet of water and was able to rescue her. Once on shore another person started CPR. Several others joined in the efforts until authorities arrived.
“I’ve got a 4-year old myself, so you can’t help but translate that with your own kids and imagine yourself in the same situation," Sisk said.
Sisk estimates that it took five to seven minutes to find Hazel after her mom started yelling for help.
Authorities said she did have a pulse when she left the park, but she currently remains in critical condition. According to the release, the girl was not wearing a life jacket.
The girl has been identified as Hazel Mariah Dobbs of St. Cloud, Minn.