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Sergeant helps save 7-year-old child, 8 others after family boat capsizes, officials say

Officials said a 7-year-old girl was able to be rescued after being found unresponsive under her family’s capsized boat. (Source: WVUE)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLE, La. (WVUE/Gray News) - Officials in Louisiana report a group of nine people was able to be rescued over the weekend after their boat capsized.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said a state patrol agent and good Samaritans helped get nine people to safety on May 7, including a 7-year-old girl who was found unresponsive in the water.

WVUE reports the incident occurred around 6:40 p.m. near the rock jetties at Grand Isle. Rescuers said the boat was trying to exit when it began taking on water and capsized.

The LDWF said Sgt. Stephen Rhodes saw the vessel in distress while patrolling the beach. He flagged down people in a passing ATV to rush him back to his parked truck that had his patrol boat in tow. The same good Samaritans helped Rhodes launch his vessel, and he sped to the boat that had eight people clinging to its hull.

Boaters told Rhodes a 7-year-old girl was missing, and officials said he helped the group onto his patrol boat while flagging down another boat to hold his vessel in place. The agent then dove into the water to search for the child.

Rhodes found the girl underneath the boat and got her aboard his patrol boat. The sergeant started CPR and was able to get her revived and breathing, according to the wildlife agency.

Rhodes took the survivors ashore, and an emergency crew was able to stabilize the child. The 7-year-old was then airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where officials said she was expected to fully recover.

“We are extremely proud of the actions of Sgt. Rhodes,” said Col. Chad Hebert of the LDWF’s Enforcement Division. “He did an exceptional job of using good judgment and his training to help save the life of this young girl and the other occupants in the capsized vessel.

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