A man was wading in a lake when all of a sudden, he felt something brush against his leg. When he saw what it was—a tiny foot belonging to a baby girl—he immediately pulled the limp girl out of the water.
Angelo Mondragon, a plumber and recreational basketball and football coach from Fort Collins, was at the Windsor Lake with his family and friends one Sunday afternoon in July 2015 when he felt something soft brush against him in the water.
“It felt like something you normally wouldn’t feel in the water. I did sort of a back kick to bring up whatever it was, and then I saw the bottom of a baby’s foot float up,” he told Coloradoan.
Had to hang up the Broncos hardhat….. But I'm still Reppin my city in windy Wyo!!! Haha#ImProudToBeACSURam
Speaking to Greeley Tribune, Mondragon, a father, said: “As soon as I saw those little baby’s toes floating in the water, my fatherly instincts, my parent instinct took over and I did what I would have done for my kid.”
Mondragon’s fatherly instinct kicked in, and he quickly pulled the baby out of the water. “I grabbed her and carried her limp body to the shore. The girl was already blue. She wasn’t breathing,” he said.
“My adrenaline was pumping,” he said. In the nerve-racking moment, he ran toward the shore screaming for the child’s mother and those at the lake to call 911. “Whose baby is this? Whose baby is this?” he yelled.
A man is now being called a hero after he felt something brush up against his leg while swimming.. http://7ny.tv/1Dnn0zN
Mondragon, two off-duty nurses—Tabatha and her husband, Thomas Lang—and Eaton police officer Mathew Rundle, administered CPR on the child, who was later identified as 3-year-old Sitlali Hernandez from Windsor Lake. Luckily, they resuscitated the girl and felt a pulse before the emergency worker arrived.
“As tragic as it was, she would have had no chance without that intervention (from bystanders),” said Windsor Severance Fire Rescue Fire Chief Herb Brady.
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) July 27, 2015
Sitlali was initially sent to a medical center at the Rockies in Loveland. She was later transferred to a children’s hospital in Aurora. Everyone who knew what happened was relieved to hear that the child was okay, including Mondragon.
“If I was not in that right spot at the right time, it could have been a search-and-rescue mission. As I told the little girl’s mom, when I saw the baby’s toes, that became my baby,” Mondragon said.
“As I told the little girl’s mom, when I saw the babies’ toes that became my baby.”
Mondragon said Sitlali was not wearing a life vest at the time of the incident. If the toddler were wearing one, it would not have become a life-or-death situation. To raise awareness about water safety, he began working with local residents and businesses to come up with a program in which he could make life vests available for those who do not possess one or simply can’t afford it.
“We need to keep our kids safe,” Mondragon said. “Thank God I found her,” he added. “I never once felt like this girl was going to die. For some reason in my heart, I knew I was going to save her.”
Needless to say, Sitlali’s mother, Emma Hernandez, couldn’t thank him enough for saving her daughter. “There’s no words how much I can thank you. You saved her. You saved her. You saved my baby,” the tearful mom told Mondragon during an emotional meeting filmed by 9News.
Kudos to Mondragon and the bystanders for saving the little girl’s life!
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