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Child revived, 9 rescued after boat capsizes off Grand Isle, agency says

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. 9, 2022 at 8:19 AM EDT
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GRAND ISLE, La. (WVUE) - A 7-year-old girl found unresponsive under her family’s capsized boat was rescued and revived on Saturday (May 7) through heroic efforts of a state patrol agent and some good Samaritans, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.

The frightening incident occurred around 6:40 p.m. near the rock jetties at Grand Isle. A boat with nine people aboard was trying to exit the jetties when it began taking on water and capsized.

The LDWF said its 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 to quickly launch his vessel, and he sped to the capsized boat that had eight people clinging to its hull.

After being rescued from beneath a capsized boat and revived Saturday off the coast of Grand...
After being rescued from beneath a capsized boat and revived Saturday off the coast of Grand Isle, 7-year-old Jacqueline is recovering at Children's Hospital New Orleans.(Photo provided by family)

The boaters told Rhodes a 7-year-old girl was still missing. Rhodes helped the group onto his patrol boat and flagged down another boat to hold his vessel in place. Then the agent dove into the water to search for the missing girl, the LDWF said.

Rhodes found the girl underneath the capsized boat and got her aboard his patrol boat. The child was unresponsive, but Rhodes started CPR and was able to get the girl revived and breathing. He took the survivors ashore at the Bridgeside Marina, where a waiting EMS crew was able to stabilize the child. The girl was then airlifted to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where the agency said she is expected to make a full recovery.

“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.

“I would also like to thank all of the good Samaritans that assisted in this successful rescue. Sgt. Rhodes was on patrol by himself and these good Samaritans helped him perform this rescue faster. That time saved probably made it possible to resuscitate the young girl.”

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