Friends save teen from drowning
Douglas County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Biaggini is calling them heroes – the half-dozen teenagers who pulled one of their peers out of the freezing Carson River on Thursday and then administered CPR on the water’s edge.
“There were about seven kids who pulled him out and started CPR, then called for help,” Biaggini said. “They did a good job.”
The 17-year-old Douglas High School student, whose name is being withheld due to his age, allegedly went over the edge of the broken power dam, south of Ruhenstroth, while swimming with friends in the area.
“Every year, a lot of kids go down there to enjoy the water and swim,” Biaggini said. “His buddies told us he went over the falls and didn’t surface, so they started their own search for him. They saw him come back up to the surface about 50 yards downstream.”
Biaggini said the young man was unconscious when friends started CPR.
They continued for several minutes until authorities arrived on the scene, including the sheriff’s office, East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts, and the Washoe Tribal Police.
About a dozen rescue personnel navigated the steep, rocky slopes down to the banks of the East Fork.
“He had a shallow pulse by the time they got there,” Biaggini said.
The same workers loaded the young man on a stretcher. Waiting on the bridge downstream of the dam was a Care Flight helicopter, which later transported the victim to Renown Regional Medical Center.
“By the time he reached the helicopter, his blood pressure was up and he was talking,” Biaggini said.
The spot is a popular hangout for teenagers, who are often seen jumping off the cliffs around the dam.
Although the pools below appear to be deep, debris from the 1997 flood, such as rebar and large pieces of concrete, lies hidden under the surface.
“You got to remember it’s still extremely dangerous,” Biaggini said.
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