Tooele City police officers, with the help of a civilian, revived a 12-year-old girl they pulled from a car submerged in Settlement Canyon Reservoir on Saturday afternoon, June 3.
Tooele City police officers were dispatched to the Settlement Canyon Reservoir at around 2:10 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, in regards to a vehicle that was sinking in the reservoir.
Officers were told that three occupants were inside the vehicle when it went into the reservoir. Two of them, a 43-year-old female and a male child, were able to make it out before the vehicle was fully submerged, however a 12-year-old female was still stuck inside, according to Cpl. Colbey Bentley, public information officer with the Tooele City Police Department.
After the vehicle sank, Bryton and Rebecca Sweat, who were driving by the reservoir, saw that something was wrong.
“As my husband and I were passing the water, we saw all of this commotion and there were people panicking,” Rebecca Sweat said. “I knew someone was in that water.”
Sweat jumped out of the vehicle and ran down to the shore where she saw the mother of the 12-year-old standing in the water saying her daughter was in the water.
Sweat, being a lifeguard and not knowing the girl was inside a vehicle, swam out about five yards to try to find the girl, but she was unsuccessful in finding her.
At around the same time, witnesses in the area who saw what happened notified two officers in the area as to what had happened and told them that the girl was stuck in a vehicle under the water.
Officers quickly swam out to where the vehicle was. Despite repeated attempts to gain access to the inside of the vehicle, being submerged in the reservoir made the rescue increasingly difficult, Bentley said.
When officers realized the exigency of the situation, they used a firearm to shoot through a window in an attempt to break it. After doing so, officers were able to gain access to the vehicle and rescue the occupant.
“Those of us on shore made a safety rope with tow straps and my husband swam it out to the officers,” Sweat said. “We pulled them in and drug the girl in.”
When the officers pulled the girl to shore, Sweat said she was blue and unconscious.
“I knew the officers would be tired, because they had been in the water trying to get her out, so I was ready to perform CPR,” Sweat said. “I had been a lifeguard for years and I never knew I would have to use CPR.”
Because of her training as a lifeguard, Sweat knew that giving an initial rescue breath to drowning victims is very important. Officers handed her the girl and she gave her two rescue breaths. From there, police officers took over CPR.
“I knew drowning victims had to have an initial breath before starting compressions right away, so I gave her two rescue breaths, and I heard the water start to come out of her lungs,” Sweat said. “She started to vomit, which was a really good sign.”
Sweat helped the officers carry the girl to the ambulance, and she was transported to a local hospital.
The 12-year-old is in stable condition at this time and is expected to make a full recovery, according to Bentley.
Sweat wants to encourage everyone to learn CPR, because you never know when you’ll need it.
“Everyone should learn CPR, because it really can save a life,” she said. “You should never be afraid to just act.”
All of the occupants of the vehicle were Tooele City residents.
This investigation is still in an early phase. How the vehicle ended up in the reservoir has not been announced along with the names of the police officers or individuals in the vehicle.
This story will be updated as more information is released.