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Md. officer dives into river to rescue drowning girl

9-year-old girl's foot was trapped under a rock


By Luke Lavoie
Howard County Times

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — A Howard County police officer saved a drowning 9-year-old girl whose foot was trapped under a rock in the Little Patuxent River near the Savage Mill Trail last weekend, police said Wednesday.

Police said Sgt. Michael Johnson, a 16-year veteran, was walking foot patrol with a park ranger at 4:15 p.m. May 25 when they heard screaming near the river. Police said Johnson ran toward the screams and saw the girl in shoulder-deep water being pushed by the current.

Sgt. Michael Johnson. (Howard County Police Department Image)
Sgt. Michael Johnson. (Howard County Police Department Image)

He called dispatch and asked for the Howard County Fire and Rescue Services department's SWIFT water rescue team, police said. While awaiting their arrival, Johnson saw the girl, who said her foot was stuck under a rock, struggling to stay above water, police said.

Sgt. Johnson then jumped in the river to try to save the girl, police said. As he was swimming toward her, the current picked him up, but he was able to grab onto a crate jammed between two rocks, police said.

Police said he was able to move himself in front of the crate and, with one hand on the crate, was able to lunge toward the girl and free her trapped foot.

Police said he then pulled her to the edge of the water where a bystander helped her onto land.

"This is an example of the ways in which our officers put their lives on the line every day," Police Chief Bill McMahon said. "We are very proud of Sgt. Johnson for all that he did to ensure this situation had a good outcome."

Copyright 2014 the Howard County Times 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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