Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
HERRIMAN — A mother nearly died trying to keep her two young children afloat when their raft tipped on a Herriman Reservoir on Wednesday.
Danielle Bradshaw was at the recreation area with six of her eight children. Bradshaw had her two youngest children, ages 2 and 5, on a raft when one child suggested they clean up some garbage that had blown into deeper waters.
"When I retrieved the litter, I readjusted on the tube and it flipped," Bradshaw said. "My girls panicked because they didn't have life jackets on. My husband was on his way to the reservoir with the jackets. But we tipped and were dumped in the water unexpectedly."
Bradshaw's children were thrashing, and her 5-year-old daughter was trapped under the tube. Bradshaw freed her older daughter, but the raft blew out of reach.
The three were struggling to get to shallow waters.
At this point, Bradshaw was yelling for help between being submerged and using her energy to keep her daughters above water.
"I remember holding my breath while being pushed under the water. I was trying to keep my girls up and moving forward, but I wasn't strong enough. My body needed air, so involuntarily I inhaled while I was under the water," Bradshaw said.
I was trying to keep my girls up and moving forward, but I wasn't strong enough. My body needed air, so involuntarily I inhaled while I was under the water.
At this same time, Bradshaw's husband, Lance Bradshaw, received a frantic phone call from the couple's 10-year-old daughter while driving to the reservoir.
"She was screaming and crying and said, 'Mom is drowning and can't breathe.' I was terrified and still 15 minutes away," he said. "So many people helped during our time of crisis. I spoke with one mom while I was driving; she had taken my children under her wing. She told me she would stay on the phone with me until I arrived. And that was very comforting."
Danielle Bradshaw recounted her last memory before she passed out under the water.
"It was scary, but someone did hear me calling for help. It's a miracle," she said. "I gasped one last time, holding up my babies and saw someone swimming toward us. The next memory I have was being surrounded by first responders."
(My daughter) was screaming and crying and said, 'Mom is drowning and can't breathe.'
Before Bradshaw became unconscious, an off-duty officer, who was spending time with his family, heard her cry for help and rushed in to rescue her. The officer and Bradshaw's 13-year-old son pulled her to safety.
"That officer knew exactly what he was doing because he is so well trained," she said.
Bradshaw was in full cardiac arrest. Authorities told Bradshaw they believe she was without oxygen for a total of five minutes.
The off-duty cop performed two rounds of CPR, averaging four minutes, until she started breathing again.
"They said I was unconscious under the water about a minute." Bradshaw's voice cracked with emotion. "But when I regained consciousness I only had one thought: Where are my babies? What happened to my girls? I had no idea, and I was beyond worried."
Bradshaw was treated overnight at Intermountain Riverton Hospital.
"When we got to see her in the hospital, she was still very cold to the touch. But she was awake, and we all were emotional. We just held each other and counted our blessings," Lance Bradshaw said.
The Bradshaws' 2- and 5-year-old girls were also helped out of the water and were doing just fine, according to the family.