Bystander rescued child from Little Cottonwood Creek, fire officials say

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MURRAY — A boy was rescued from Little Cottonwood Creek on Thursday evening in a swift-water rescue.

"At 6:45 tonight, a call came in for a swift-water rescue at Murray City Park," Murray Fire Assistant Chief Chad Pascua said. "On arrival, our units found the patient, a 4- or 5-year-old male, out of the river."

The little boy was with his family, and his mom saw him one second and didn't see him the next, Pascua explained. "(The boy) obviously fell into the water and got swept down, probably an eighth- to one-quarter of a mile," he said.

Pascua said a bystander saw the boy floating down the river and jumped in to get him out.

That good Samaritan was Harlan Wheeler.

"(The boy) needed to be out, and he needed to survive," said Wheeler.

"(Wheeler) jumped in, fully immersed himself in the river, and got the boy to shore where the police officer was able to take him," Pascua said.

Wheeler described the boy as "deadweight" and said he had "never felt anything like that."

Once the police officer had the boy, Wheeler floated down another 50 feet or so and was able to get himself out of the river successfully. Paramedics confirmed that he was not hurt and had no symptoms of hypothermia.

The boy was taken to Intermountain Medical Center, which is directly across the street from the park, where he was listed in serious condition, according to Pascua. He said the boy was in a trauma bay being evaluated for aspiration of water and hypothermia.

Contributing: Mehul Asher and Ashley Moser, KSL TV


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Cara MacDonald enjoys both engaging in outdoor recreation and writing about it. Born and raised in Utah, Cara enjoys skiing, rock climbing, hiking and camping. She is passionate about both learning about and experiencing the outdoors, and helping others to learn about and explore nature. She primarily writes Outdoors articles centering around wildlife and nature, highlighting adventure opportunities, and sharing tips and tricks for outdoor recreation.


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